Friday, March 5, 2010

The Volcker Tax Reform Commission Fades Away

On February 6, 2009, just a few weeks after his inauguration as president, Barack Obama issued an Executive Order establishing the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB). Paul Volcker, one of America’s most distinguished public servants, was appointed chairman, Council of Economic Affairs member Austan Goolsbee staff director, along with fifteen distinguished individuals from academia, business, and finance.

The commission held six public meetings in which testimony was presented. It received and posted hundreds of comments. Its findings were to be submitted to the president by December 4, 2009. The Commission stated that due to the heavy volume of submissions it required additional time to review the material, and expected to deliver its report shortly after the Christmas/New Year holidays.

That date came and went. No new date for delivery has been posted on PERAB’s web site nor have any further meetings been held or scheduled since December 4, 2009.

The president issued another Executive Order on February 18, 2010, establishing The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Its creation means that the Volcker Commission will likely cease its activities.

The moral of this story is beware of presidents establishing tax reform commissions.

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