Eric Harris Bernstein

Eric Harris Bernstein is a graduate student at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. Previously, he worked on tax, antitrust, and labor policy as a program manager for the Roosevelt Institute. You can follow his work and musings on Twitter at @EricHBernstein.

Recent Articles

Tax Reform: Target the Whales, Not the Minnows

Small complex loopholes get too much attention from reformers; it’s time for Democrats to pursue structural tax reform.

Does anyone remember the “performance pay” loophole? This was the statute in the tax code that let corporations deduct unlimited sums of performance-based CEO pay from their taxable income. Closing the loophole was a popular rallying cry for Democrats during the 2016 election cycle, who argued that taxing businesses on their executive compensation expenditures would raise revenue and help rein in excessive CEO pay. But 2016 came and went, and the shock of Donald Trump’s election took my attention away from incremental reforms that had seemed so promising just a few years prior. Unsurprisingly, then, I hadn’t thought about the performance pay loophole in a while­ until it came up at a lecture I recently attended. Hearing those magic words triggered a sinking realization: I’m pretty sure Donald Trump closed the performance pay loophole . I checked, and he did. As it turns out, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was such a massive tax cut for...

Why Shouldn’t Bartenders Be Rich?

One Oakland bartender shows how eliminating the sub-minimum wage would benefit high-end, as well as low-end, tipped workers.

This week, Washington, D.C.’s city council will vote on whether to repeal Initiative 77, which would phase out the sub-minimum wage for D.C.'s tipped workers over the next seven years. In defending the initiative, the pro-77 coalition has looked primarily to D.C.’s low-income tipped workers. They have stated (correctly) that one in seven D.C. tipped workers live in poverty; they have noted (smartly) that the typical D.C. tipped worker makes one-third what the typical non-tipped worker makes; and they have highlighted (importantly) the stories of non-restaurant tipped workers like my friend Dia King , who straddles the poverty line as a valet attendant. And indeed, the needs of low-income tipped workers are the most compelling reason to end the tipped minimum wage. But Initiative 77 will improve the earnings of D.C.’s most successful restaurant workers as well, challenging the prevailing notion that service work is necessarily low-wage—and we should welcome that...