U-M experts available to discuss fiscal cliff stalemate

December 11, 2012

ANN ARBOR—Less than three weeks until the Dec. 31 deadline, President Obama and Republican leaders remain at an impasse on resolving the “fiscal cliff,” which involves automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that take effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

The University of Michigan has economic, legal and political experts available to lend insights. They include:

Michael Barr, professor of law, conducts large-scale empirical research regarding financial services and writes about a wide range of issues in financial regulation. He served as the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions, and was a key architect of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. He can be reached at (734) 936-2878 or [email protected].

Richard Curtin is an economist at the Institute for Social Research who oversees a quarterly consumer confidence survey. He is an expert on the American household as consumer, and his research into the measurement of consumer sentiment has produced the only survey measure that is an official component of the Index of Leading Economic Indicators. He can be reached at (734) 763-5224.

Sheldon Danziger, the H. J. Meyer Distinguished University Professor of Public Policy, is a scholar of poverty, income inequality, social welfare programs and policy. He directs the National Poverty Center at the U-M Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. He can be reached at (734) 615-8321 or [email protected].

Stephen Forrest, vice president for research, can discuss how the budget cuts would affect federally funded research at U.S. universities and colleges. U-M ranks first in research-and-development spending among the nation’s public universities. Forrest said the budget cuts would lead many young and talented university graduates to seek employment overseas, where jobs in high-tech industries are abundant. The loss of funds would also undermine the nation’s research infrastructure, slowing progress in new, economy-building enterprises. He can be reached at (734) 936-2680 or [email protected].

Michael Heaney, assistant professor of organizational studies and political science, examines the organizational dimensions of American politics. His research focuses on the role of intermediary institutions—especially political parties and social movements—in shaping the political process and policy outcomes. He can be reached at (202) 236-3369 or [email protected].

Reuven Avi-Yonah, the Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law and director of the International Tax LLM Program at the U-M Law School, specializes in corporate and international taxation. He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Treasury Department. He can be reached at (734) 647-4033 or [email protected].

Luke Shaefer, assistant professor of social work, can discuss how the fiscal cliff will affect poor and middle-income families. He has published articles on low-wage work and U.S social policy. He can be reached at (734) 936-5065 or [email protected].

Joel Slemrod, director of the Office of Tax Policy Research and the Paul W. McCracken Collegiate Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at the Ross School of Business, is a renowned authority on the economic effects of taxation, international aspects of taxation, tax compliance and tax law enforcement, and tax reform and savings behavior in the U.S. and worldwide. He can be reached at (734) 936-3914 or [email protected].

Betsey Stevenson, an associate professor of public policy, explores the economic forces shaping the modern family, and the potential value of subjective well-being data for public policy. She can be reached at (734) 615-9595 or [email protected].

Michael Traugott, professor of communication studies and senior research scientist at the ISR Center for Political Studies, is an authority on political communication and public opinion. He can be reached at (734) 647-0421 or [email protected].

Lawrence Waggoner, Lewis M. Simes Professor of Law Emeritus, is a leading figure in law reform with both the Uniform Law Commission and the American Law Institute in the fields of wills, trusts, and future interests. He recently analyzed the tax rate on dividends and capital gains: http://www.law.umich.edu/newsandinfo/features/Pages/kahn_waggoner.aspx. He can be reached at (734) 763-2586 or [email protected].

Justin Wolfers will join the U-M faculty in January 2013 as a professor of public policy and economics. His research interests include labor economics, macroeconomics, political economy, economics of the family, social policy, law and economics, public economics and behavioral economics. He can be reached at (734) 615-6846 or [email protected].