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

Economic Freedom, Part 3

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The attempt to develop a rigorous, quantitative measure of economic freedom may strike some as a presumptuous undertaking. The effort requires agreement on the conceptual dimensions of economic freedom, the indicators or data that fit or reflect each of the several dimensions of economic freedom, and the generation of a number (or numbers) that sums up all of the different dimensions, thereby permitting comparative ratings on the degree of economic freedom that exists both in the aggregate for each of the different dimensions of economic life in every country in the world at any point in time.

Analysis and Commentary

Economic Freedom, Part 2

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Thursday, October 25, 2018

Most of us have an intuitive or common-sense notion of the meaning of economic freedom. A smattering of features or attributes includes free markets, private enterprise, voluntary exchange, capitalism, limited government, laissez-faire, free trade, low taxes, free movement of capital, and other dimensions of economic life.

Analysis and Commentary

Economic Freedom, Part 1

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

In October 1986, with support from the Liberty Fund in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Fraser Institute convened the first of four conferences in Napa Valley, California. The Fraser Institute published the proceedings in 1988, Economic Freedom, Democracy and Welfare. Edited by Michael A. Walker, Director of The Fraser Institute, and co-chaired with Milton and Rose Friedman, the conference was organized as a counterpart to do for economic freedom what Freedom House did for political freedom: to calculate the amount of economic freedom that exists in various nations of the world.

Analysis and Commentary

U.S. Foreign Policy Faces Grave Danger, Part 5

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

This post wraps up my series on U.S. Foreign Policy Faces Grave Danger. In March 2005, Bush adviser Karen Hughes was named to a State Department post, Deputy Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. In late September 2005 she traveled to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey to open a dialogue with important Muslim countries. Her task was to persuade them that Bush’s War on Terror was not a War against Islam.

Two Wrongs Make A Right

by Alvin Rabushka
Friday, October 12, 2018

First. In my post of September 23, 2018, I criticized Senator Chuck Grassley’s handling of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for associate justice of the Supreme Court in the Senate Judiciary Committee. I was premature and wrong. Senator Grassley brilliantly shepherded Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination through the Judiciary Committee.

Analysis and Commentary

Sexual Violence And Mental Health Illness Plague America’s Universities

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Thursday, October 11, 2018

A good way to pick up the intellectual trends in vogue at American Universities is to browse the web pages of the top 20 private national universities as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Analysis and Commentary

U.S Foreign Policy Faces Grave Danger, Part 4

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Separatist movements are active movements with living, active members that seek greater autonomy or self-determination for a geographic region. Some movements have de facto autonomy, which makes them a de facto (breakaway) state. Some are proposed states that have a name for a seceding sovereign state. Some are proposing autonomous areas that seek greater autonomy, but not outright secession. Some movements are driven (largely) by ethnic identity, others by political ideologies or pressure groups.

Analysis and Commentary

Academic Freedom Hangs By A Thread

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Thursday, October 4, 2018

In a previous post comparing Chinese and American universities, I noted that applicants for a faculty position at the University of California must submit a Diversity Statement.

Analysis and Commentary

U.S. Foreign Policy Faces Grave Danger, Part 3

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As all sectors of American society are moving to embrace Diversity and Inclusion in their missions and operations, the rest of the world is moving in the opposite direction, in the growth of state sovereignty, of “nation-states” with a common language, history, culture, and borders.

Analysis and Commentary

Chinese And American Universities Have Much In Common

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Thursday, September 27, 2018

It is customary to hold a Convocation at the beginning of each academic year to welcome first-year students (frosh, freshers) to campus. The presidents of Chinese universities tell students to follow their interests and passions, so long as they conform with Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The presidents of American universities also tell students to follow their interests and passions, so long as they conform with Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Social Justice.

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