Leonard Burman

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Leonard Burman
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Analysis
In office
Personal details
Born Leonard E. Burman
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Spouse(s) Melissa Burman
Alma mater Wesleyan University
University of Minnesota
Profession Academic

Leonard "Len" E. Burman (born 1953, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a nationally recognized economist, tax policy expert, and writer who currently serves as the Robert C. Pozen Director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, and the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Professor of Public Affairs at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Education and early career[edit]

Born in Philadelphia, PA, Burman graduated Northeast High School in Philadelphia, PA, in 1971. He received an A.B. in Economics from Wesleyan University in 1975 and received a Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Minnesota in 1985.[1]

Prior to graduate school, Burman was an economist with Data Resources, Inc. from 1975 to 1978. He served as an economics instructor at Bates College from 1983 to 1985 before beginning his career in Washington.

Department of Treasury and Congressional Budget Office[edit]

Burman began his career in Washington by taking a two-year leave from teaching at Bates College to work as a financial economist with the Department of Tax Analysis at the U.S. Department of Treasury. During his time at Treasury, Burman worked on the design and implementation of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.[2] After leaving Treasury in 1988, Burman served for over a decade as a senior economic analyst at the Congressional Budget Office writing reports on tax policy issues including the low-income housing credit, health reform, tax incentives for health and retirement, and the capital gains tax.[1]

Clinton Administration and current work[edit]

The Clinton administration brought Burman back to Treasury in 1998 to become the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Analysis, serving as the administration’s top tax economist. Burman served in this post for two years.

In 2000, Burman left the Clinton administration to become a senior fellow at the Urban Institute.

In 2002, Burman, along with other tax experts from the Reagan, Clinton, and Bush administrations, founded the Tax Policy Center as a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute. Burman served as the inaugural director of the Tax Policy Center until 2009 and provided guidance on tax policy issues and proposals as a resident expert. The current director of the Tax Policy Center is Donald Marron.[3]

Since leaving the Clinton administration in 2000, Burman has served several posts in academia. From 2000 to 2008, Burman served as a visiting professor and lecturer at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute and has served as a visiting professor at the UCLA School of Law.[4]

Burman currently serves as the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Professor of Public Affairs at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University teaching classes on tax and social policy. In addition, Burman is a senior research associate at Syracuse University’s Center for Policy Research, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and an affiliated scholar at the Urban Institute. He is the immediate past-president of the National Tax Association, has served on the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force, and currently serves on the board of the Pew SubsidyScope Project.[5]

Burman blogs as The Impertinent Economist on Forbes.com and on the Tax Policy Center’s blog, TaxVox and has written over 120 articles on a wide range of tax and fiscal policy issues over a thirty-year span. His op-eds have appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, and many other publications. In addition, Burman has written or coedited three books including The Labyrinth of Capital Gains Tax Policy: A Guide for the Perplexed and is currently coauthoring a book on U.S. tax policy with Joel Slemrod.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Burman is married to Melissa Burman, a former administrator at Georgetown University, and has four children, (Rob, Paul, Kent and Liz) and one grandchild (Reagan). He is an avid cyclist who biked across the country in 2004 with his son, Paul, to raise over $100,000 for charity (Partners In Health).[2][6] He sings baritone in the Syracuse Oratorio Society. He currently resides in Arlington, VA.


  1. ^ a b c Leonard Burman Curriculum Vitae, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.
  2. ^ a b Dana Cooke (Fall 2009). "The Public Economist". Maxwell Perspective. Syracuse University. 
  3. ^ "Affiliated Staff". Tax Policy Center. 
  4. ^ "Leonard Burman". Urban Institute. 
  5. ^ "Leonard E. Burman". Scholars Strategy Network. 
  6. ^ http://ride4haiti.blogspot.com/