Wednesday, July 18, 2012 8:59am

Healthcare and Taxes

Long run fiscal sustainability in the U.S. will require cuts in currently promised Medicare and Medicaid benefits and/or tax increases that include higher taxes on households with incomes below $250,000.

Responses
 

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Responses weighted by each expert's confidence

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel
Participant University Vote Confidence Comment Bio/Vote History
Acemoglu Daron Acemoglu MIT Strongly Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Alesina Alberto Alesina Harvard Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Altonji Joseph Altonji Yale Strongly Agree 9
Health spending per recipient can rise above current levels. Reform is needed to make health spending increases affordable given GDP growth
Bio/Vote History
         
Auerbach Alan Auerbach Berkeley Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Autor David Autor MIT Strongly Agree 10
The mixture of rising government spending on healthcare and extremely low U.S. tax-rates is unsustainable.
Bio/Vote History
         
Baicker Katherine Baicker Harvard Strongly Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Banerjee Abhijit Banerjee MIT --- ---
---
Bio/Vote History
Joined 11/2013 Disagree 6
There are largely unexplored potential taxes on the wealthy --wealth taxes for example.
 
Bertrand Marianne Bertrand Chicago No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Brunnermeier Markus Brunnermeier Princeton --- ---
---
Bio/Vote History
Joined 11/2013 Agree 8
 
Chetty Raj Chetty Harvard Strongly Agree 9
Bio/Vote History
         
Chevalier Judith Chevalier Yale Agree 9
Social security may be in the menu of and/or solutions as well.
Bio/Vote History
         
Currie Janet Currie Princeton Strongly Agree 10
It is not possible to solve U.S. budget problems without addressing the high cost of medical care and increasing taxes.
Bio/Vote History
         
Cutler David Cutler Harvard Uncertain 5
This seems obvious, but there is so much waste in health care that if we do it right, we'll very significantly reduce the costs of care.
Bio/Vote History
         
Deaton Angus Deaton Princeton Strongly Agree 9
Bio/Vote History
         
Duffie Darrell Duffie Stanford Agree 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Edlin Aaron Edlin Berkeley Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Eichengreen Barry Eichengreen Berkeley Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Einav Liran Einav Stanford --- ---
---
Bio/Vote History
Joined 11/2013 Agree 7
 
Fair Ray Fair Yale Strongly Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Finkelstein Amy Finkelstein MIT --- ---
---
Bio/Vote History
Joined 11/2013 Agree 5
 
Goldberg Pinelopi Goldberg Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Goldin Claudia Goldin Harvard Agree 3
As long as taxes on those with incomes > $250K were already increased and revenues collected were insufficient.
Bio/Vote History
         
Goolsbee Austan Goolsbee Chicago Uncertain 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Greenstone Michael Greenstone Chicago Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hall Robert Hall Stanford Agree 8
Rationalization is a better term than cuts. Equal health outcomes are possible with much less spending.
Bio/Vote History
         
Hart Oliver Hart Harvard --- ---
---
Bio/Vote History
Joined 11/2013 Agree 7
I think that taxes will have to go up generally if benefits are maintained
 
Holmström Bengt Holmström MIT Strongly Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoxby Caroline Hoxby Stanford Strongly Agree 10
Fiscal gap studies (e.g. Auerbach, Kotlikoff) show this is true unless, of course, health care costs fall dramatically--but why should they?
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoynes Hilary Hoynes Berkeley --- ---
---
Bio/Vote History
Joined 11/2013 Agree 10
Amendment is that we need to get COSTS in those health programs down. This does not mean cutting back on the programs per se.
 
Judd Kenneth Judd Stanford Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Kaplan Steven Kaplan Chicago --- ---
---
Bio/Vote History
Joined 11/2013 Strongly Agree 10
 
Kashyap Anil Kashyap Chicago Strongly Agree 7
Can't escape doing something about medical spending and even if we do, we will need more taxes on everyone
-see background information here
Bio/Vote History
         
Klenow Pete Klenow Stanford Strongly Agree 10
The sooner we face up to this the better.
-see background information here
Bio/Vote History
         
Lazear Edward Lazear Stanford Uncertain 5
Cuts or less rapid growth? Keep benefits constant in real terms or relative to wages? If mean real growth, I agree need more tax on all.
Bio/Vote History
         
Levin Jonathan Levin Stanford Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Maskin Eric Maskin Harvard Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Nordhaus William Nordhaus Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Obstfeld Maurice Obstfeld Berkeley Strongly Agree 9
Bio/Vote History
         
Saez Emmanuel Saez Berkeley Uncertain 7
The key is controlling health care costs growth which does not necessarily imply reneging on Medicaid/Medicare benefits promises
Bio/Vote History
         
Samuelson Larry Samuelson Yale --- ---
---
Bio/Vote History
Joined 11/2013 Strongly Agree 10
 
Scheinkman José Scheinkman Princeton Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Schmalensee Richard Schmalensee MIT Strongly Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Shapiro Carl Shapiro Berkeley --- ---
---
Bio/Vote History
Joined 11/2013 Strongly Agree 7
Something has to give, between current law and demographics.
 
Shimer Robert Shimer Chicago --- ---
---
Bio/Vote History
Joined 11/2013 Strongly Agree 10
 
Shin Hyun Song Shin Princeton Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Stock James Stock Harvard Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Stokey Nancy Stokey Chicago Strongly Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Thaler Richard Thaler Chicago Agree 7
Arithmetic. And too unlikely that Congress will find cuts elsewhere such as farm and oil subsidies and DoD.
Bio/Vote History
         
Udry Christopher Udry Yale Agree 8
The main alternative is a substantial reduction in the growth rate of medical care costs.
Bio/Vote History
         
Zingales Luigi Zingales Chicago Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         

10 New Economic Experts join the IGM Panel


For the past two years, our expert panelists have been informing the public about the extent to which economists agree or disagree on important public policy issues. This week, we are delighted to announce that we are expanding the IGM Economic Experts Panel to add ten new distinguished economists. Like our other experts, these new panelists have impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters, and their names will be familiar to other economists and the media.

To give the public a broad sense of their views on policy issues, each new expert has responded to a selection of 16 statements that our panel had previously addressed. We chose these 16 statements, which cover a wide range of important policy areas, because the original panelists' responses to them were analyzed in a paper comparing the views of our economic experts with those of the American public. You can find that paper, by Paola Sapienza and Luigi Zingales, here. The paper, along with other analyses of the experts' views, was discussed during the American Economic Association annual meetings, and the video can be found here.

The new panelists' responses to these statements can be seen on their individual voting history pages. Our ten new economic experts are:

Abhijit Banerjee (MIT)
Markus K. Brunnermeier (Princeton)
Liran Einav (Stanford)
Amy Finkelstein (MIT)
Oliver Hart (Harvard)
Hilary Hoynes (Berkeley)
Steven N. Kaplan (Chicago)
Larry Samuelson (Yale)
Carl Shapiro (Berkeley)
Robert Shimer (Chicago)


Please note that, for the 16 previous topics on which these new panelists have voted, we left the charts showing the distribution of responses unchanged. Those charts reflect the responses that our original panelists gave at the time, and we have not altered them to reflect the views of the new experts.

We have also taken this opportunity to ask our original panelists whether they would vote differently on any of the statements we have asked about in the past. Several experts chose to highlight statements to which they would currently respond differently. In such cases, you will see this "revote" below the panelist's original vote. We think you will enjoy seeing examples of statements on which some experts have reconsidered.

As with the 16 previous statements voted on by new panelists, these "revote" responses are not reflected in the chart that we display showing the distribution of views for that topic: all the charts for previous questions reflect the distribution of views that the experts expressed when the statement was originally posed.

About the IGM Economic Experts Panel

This panel explores the extent to which economists agree or disagree on major public policy issues. To assess such beliefs we assembled this panel of expert economists. Statistics teaches that a sample of (say) 40 opinions will be adequate to reflect a broader population if the sample is representative of that population.

To that end, our panel was chosen to include distinguished experts with a keen interest in public policy from the major areas of economics, to be geographically diverse, and to include Democrats, Republicans and Independents as well as older and younger scholars. The panel members are all senior faculty at the most elite research universities in the United States. The panel includes Nobel Laureates, John Bates Clark Medalists, fellows of the Econometric society, past Presidents of both the American Economics Association and American Finance Association, past Democratic and Republican members of the President's Council of Economics, and past and current editors of the leading journals in the profession. This selection process has the advantage of not only providing a set of panelists whose names will be familiar to other economists and the media, but also delivers a group with impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters.

Finally, it is important to explain one aspect of our voting process. In some instances a panelist may neither agree nor disagree with a statement, and there can be two very different reasons for this. One case occurs when an economist is an expert on a topic and yet sees the evidence on the exact claim at hand as ambiguous. In such cases our panelists vote "uncertain". A second case relates to statements on topics so far removed from the economist's expertise that he or she feels unqualified to vote. In this case, our panelists vote "no opinion".

The Economic Experts Panel questions are emailed individually to the members of the panel, and each responds electronically at his or her convenience. Panelists may consult whatever resources they like before answering.

Members of the public are free to suggest questions (see link below), and the panelists suggest many themselves. Members of the IGM faculty are responsible for deciding the final version of each week’s question. We usually send a draft of the question to the panel in advance, and invite them to point out problems with the wording if they see any. In response, we typically receive a handful of suggested clarifications from individual experts. This process helps us to spot inconsistencies, and to reduce vagueness or problems of interpretation.

The panel data are copyrighted by the Initiative on Global Markets and are being analyzed for an article to appear in a leading peer-reviewed journal.

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