IRET was founded in 1977 as a 501(c)(3) public policy research organization dedicated to the belief that constructive, free-market economic policies are essential for the nation's economic progress. To this end, IRET conducts research and analysis of the economic effects of tax, budget, and regulatory public policy initiatives. IRET is a leader in offering guidance to policy makers regarding fundamental tax reform that would eliminate the bias against saving and investment in the current tax system, including elimination of the estate tax, taxation of capital gains, and the double taxation of corporate income. IRET is also researching ways to replace Social Security with personal saving for retirement.

IRET has a reputation as a no-nonsense resource for policy makers and opinion leaders. IRET relies on contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations to perform its work. It accepts no government funding. IRET is the leading public policy institute in Washington focusing realistically on the growth aspects and the economic consequences of federal policy changes.

IRET's founder, Norman B. Ture, was a distinguished tax advisor to Congress and served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Affairs in the Regan Administration. Dr. Ture played a central role in the development of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981.

IRET's President and Executive Director is Stephen J. Entin. Mr. Entin was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department in the Reagan Administration. He prepared economic forecasts for the President's budgets, and the development of the 1981 tax cuts, including the "tax indexing" provision that keeps tax rates from rising due to inflation. Mr. Entin represented the Treasury Department in the preparation of the Annual Reports of the Board of Trustees of the Social Security System, and conducted research into the long run outlook for the system. He advised the National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform (the Kemp Commission), assisted in the drafting of the Commission's report, and was the author of several of its support documents.

Prior to joining Treasury, Mr. Entin was a staff economist with the Joint Economic Committee of the Congress, where he developed legislation for tax rate reduction (the Kemp-Roth bill) and incentives to encourage saving. Mr. Entin is a graduate of Dartmouth College and received his graduate training in economics at the University of Chicago, majoring in macroeconomics, monetary policy, and international economics.

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