Taxes are deeply embedded in the fabric of the American economy and society. They create incentives related to work, saving, investment, borrowing, and marriage. They are key tools for the provision of the safety net and the redistribution of resources. And, certainly not least, they finance government spending. At some level, the goals of tax policy command widespread support: raise the revenues needed to finance the government as simply, as equitably, and in as growth-friendly a manner as possible. However, the goals often conflict with one another – equity and growth, in particular. In addition, people often disagree on what the goals mean, how to make tradeoffs among the goals, and the best way to achieve any particular objective. As a result, taxes remain a perennial source of controversy among researchers, policymakers, and the public, involving both subjective and objective considerations.


Kyle Pomerleau is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies federal tax policy. Before joining AEI, Mr. Pomerleau was chief economist and vice president of economic analysis at the Tax Foundation, where he led the macroeconomic and tax modeling team and wrote on various tax policy topics, including corporate taxation, international tax policy, carbon taxation, and tax reform.

The author of many studies, Mr. Pomerleau has been published in trade publications and policy journals including Tax Notes and the National Tax Journal. He is frequently quoted in major media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He has also testified before Congress and state legislators.

Mr. Pomerleau has an MPP in economic and social policy from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and a BA in history and political science from the University of Southern Maine.


William Gale is the Arjay and Frances Miller Chair in Federal Economic Policy in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. His research focuses on tax policy, fiscal policy, pensions and saving behavior. He is co-director of the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute. From 2006 to 2009, he served as vice president of Brookings and director of the Economic Studies Program. Gale is the author of Fiscal Therapy: Curing America’s Debt Addiction and Investing in the Future (Oxford University Press, 2019).

His research has been published in several scholarly journals, including the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, and Quarterly Journal of Economics. In 2007, a paper he co-authored was awarded the TIAA-CREF Paul A. Samuelson Award Certificate of Excellence.

He has testified more than 30 times in Congress and has written extensively in policy-related publications and newspapers, including op-eds in CNN, the Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.


Peter Coy, our moderator, writes about economics, business, and finance for the Opinion section of The New York Times. Prior to writing for The Times, he was the Economics Editor at Bloomberg Businessweek. Coy is an alum of Cornell University.