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In Memoriam: David F. Bradford, 1939 - 2005

David_bradfordThe New York Times published an obituary for David Bradford, widely described as an innovator in tax policy. He sought to find new ways of equitable tax, not only through his X Tax (essentially a flat tax that targeted spending, exempting savings) and through thoughtful analysis (Adobe Acrobat required) of how the goals of the Kyoto Protocols could be achieved through less draconian measures.

An expert on taxation issues, Bradford served under Presidents Ford, Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He was a member of Bush's Council of Economic Advisors from 1991 to 1993 and was deputy assistant secretary for tax policy in the Treasury Department in 1975 and 1976.

While at Treasury, Bradford played a key role in the study that resulted in the publication of "Blueprints for Basic Tax Reform," regarded as a precursor to the major income tax reforms enacted in 1986. "David's creative ideas have profoundly shaped tax reform," said Martin Feldstein, the Harvard economics professor and president of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

With cities and states facing an uncertain tax future (WSJ subscription required), people like David Bradford are in short supply.

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