Alvin Rabushka

David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow, Emeritus
Biography: 

Alvin Rabushka is the David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow, Emeritus at the Hoover Institution.

He is the author or coauthor of numerous books in the areas of race and ethnicity, aging, taxation, state and local government finances, and economic development. His books include Politics in Plural Societies (originally published in 1972 and reissued in 2008 with a foreword and epilogue); A Theory of Racial Harmony; The Urban Elderly Poor; Old Folks at Home; The Tax Revolt; The Flat Tax; From Adam Smith to the Wealth of America; Hong Kong: A Study in Economic Freedom; and the New China. Rabushka’s most recent publication is Taxation in Colonial America, which received Special Recognition as a 2009 Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award.

He has published numerous articles in scholarly journals and in national newspapers. He has consulted for, and testified before, a number of congressional committees. In 1980, he served on President Ronald Reagan's Tax Policy Task Force.

Rabushka's books and articles on the flat tax (with Robert E. Hall) provided the intellectual foundation for numerous flat tax bills that were introduced in Congress during the 1980s and 1990s and the proposals of several presidential candidates in 1996 and 2000. He was recognized in Money magazine's twentieth-anniversary issue "Money Hall of Fame" for the importance of his flat tax proposal in bringing about passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986. His pioneering work on the flat tax contributed to the adoption of the flat tax in Jamaica, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Mongolia, Mauritius, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Kygyzstan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Trinidad and Tobago, Pridnestrovie (Transdniestra), several Swiss Cantons, and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has also drafted flat tax plans for Austria, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Canada, and Slovenia.

Rabushka received his AB in Far Eastern studies from Washington University (St. Louis) in 1962, followed by his MA and PhD degrees in political science from Washington University in 1966 and 1968. In 2007, he was honored as a distinguished alumnus of the School of Arts and Sciences at Washington University.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Who Bears The Burden Of Taxes On Business?

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

On August 13, 1996, during the Republican National Convention, a panel was held in honor of candidate Steve Forbes. I was invited to serve on the panel discussing Forbes’s tax plan, which was a slight modification of the original Hall-Rabushka flat tax.

Analysis and Commentary

Both Left And Right Agree That Democracy Nation Building Is Failing

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, September 7, 2021

On September 1, 2021, Michael McFaul tweeted “That the US benefits more from democracy in the world does not mean that American leaders today have the ideas or means to promote democracy abroad. After fourteen years of democratic recession worldwide we should be humble in our proclamations & ambitions.” 

Analysis and Commentary

Getting Ready For The Democrat Party’s Tax Increases

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Assuming the Democrat Party’s $3.5 trillion spending plan passes Congress later this year, it will include several tax increases.

Analysis and Commentary

The Coming California Dust Bowl

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The whole state of California is in drought with predictions of megadrought on the horizon. Just how bad the situation is can be seen in a display comparing the current level of water storage in the main reservoirs with historical averages.

Analysis and Commentary

Will Biden’s Plan To Increase The Corporate Tax Rate From 21% To 28% Improve Tax Fairness?

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Monday, April 5, 2021

In 1985, the Wall Street Journal asked me to interview a panel of tax experts to determine who really pays corporate taxes. Is it investors in lower returns? Is it workers in lower wages and fewer jobs? Is it consumers in higher prices?

Analysis and Commentary

Fortieth Anniversary Of The Flat Tax Movement

by Alvin Rabushkavia Flat Tax
Thursday, March 25, 2021

March 25, 2021, is the fortieth anniversary of the beginning of the flat tax movement. I include an op-ed that was published on March 25, 1981, in the Wall Street Journal. I wrote it four months after Ronald Reagan’s Tax Policy Task Force submitted its report upon his election. My motivation for the op-ed was that while the Task Force’s recommendations, which were largely adopted, improved the then current federal income tax code, they did not go nearly far enough to simplify and fix other flaws in the tax code.

Analysis and Commentary

Three Antarctic Jurisdictions With A Flat Tax

by Alvin Rabushkavia Flat Tax
Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The tax rates for three Antarctic jurisdictions.

Analysis and Commentary

Will More Diversity And Inclusion End Systemic Racism On Campus?

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Monday, September 28, 2020

Universities have been at the forefront of diversity for the past 40 years. Yet, after the unfortunate death of George Floyd, they have rushed to declare that their campuses are replete with systemic, institutional racism.

Analysis and Commentary

The Abraham Accords. Peace Between Israel And The United Emirates And Bahrain

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Thursday, September 17, 2020
First Egypt in 1979, then Jordan in 1904, and now the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have signed peace agreements with Israel, establishing normal diplomatic relations, and launching cooperative economic and other arrangements.
Stanford Oval
Analysis and Commentary

Politics On The Farm (Affectionately Known As Stanford)

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Every election cycle I report political donations and votes cast by thousands of faculty, staff, and students living in housing on the Stanford campus (zip code 94305). Political donations are reported to the Federal Election Commission and are reproduced on Open Secrets.

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