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AIG director named to Obama tax task force

  • Story Highlights
  • President Obama's new Task Force on Tax Reform to include AIG executive
  • Martin Feldman also advised Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush
  • Task force's job is to overhaul tax code, make changes in corporate tax breaks
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One of the people named this week to President Obama's new Task Force on Tax Reform is a member of the AIG board of directors.

Martin Feldstein, a professor of economics at Harvard University, has been on the board of American International Group since 1988. He also was a prominent economic adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Asked about the AIG connection, a senior administration official said Friday that the White House declined to comment on the story.

Like the others named to the tax reform task force, Feldstein also serves on Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which is headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

Joining Feldstein on the task force are Laura Tyson of the University of California at Berkeley and a former chairman of President Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers; Roger Ferguson, CEO of TIAA-CREF; and Bill Donaldson, a former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In a teleconference briefing Wednesday, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said Obama believes the "prospective members of the board would be especially well-suited to carry out the mission of tax reform."

The task force's job description is to propose ways to simplify the tax code, reduce tax evasion, close loopholes and make changes in corporate tax breaks. It is to provide recommendations to the president by December 4.

No revenue target is being set, but the administration said it is placing two constraints on the group's efforts: Members may not propose tax increases for 2009 and 2010; and beyond 2010, they may not propose tax increases on families making less than $250,000.

A major focus for the task force will be to reduce the estimated $300 billion-a-year tax gap, the difference between what individual and corporate taxpayers owe and what they actually pay.

The announcement of the tax-reform task force drew a cool reaction this week from the top Senate Democratic tax writer.

"We'll certainly look at [its recommendations], but we're the Congress, we'll do what we think makes sense," Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, told reporters.

CNN's Jennifer Rizzo, CNNMoney.com's Jeanne Sahadi and CNN White House Producer Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.

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