Tax policy was a central part of the recent hyperpartisan debates over the "fiscal cliff." In this political climate, it is vital for rigorous empirical research to elevate policy debates above the rhetoric. In keeping with the NBER's tradition of excellence, Volume 27 of the Tax Policy and the Economy series facilitates a conversation between academic researchers and the Washington, DC, policy community to evaluate and analyze tax and spending policy. But as our nation moves forward in its effort to reduce the long-term gap between revenue and spending, the papers in this volume are invaluable and timely tools for anyone interested in moving beyond the talking points to the hard numbers and thorough analyses published by America's largest nonpartisan economic research organization. This year's volume features six papers by leading scholars who bring their considerable expertise to bear on issues related to education funding, labor supply, taxation, fiscal adjustments, and the overall US fiscal outlook.