Topic: Consumption Taxes

Len Burman’s Brief for a Health Care VAT

By :: April 24th, 2014

In the cover essay in the current issue of The Milken Institute Review, Len Burman calls for a Value-Added Tax (VAT) to pay for government health care costs. Len, the director of Tax Policy Center (and, thus, my boss), argues that a dedicated—and fully transparent–health care VAT would increase public support for efforts to slow the […]

Read More

An EPA-Sanctioned State-Based Carbon Tax Could Reduce Emissions and Improve State Finances

By :: April 1st, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing a proposed rule due out in June that could allow states to use carbon excise taxes or fees to limit the one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that come from power plants. The tax approach, one of several options EPA could offer states, could provide an important […]

Read More

A Terrible Response to the Internet Tax Mess

By :: March 18th, 2014

Ten months ago the Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation aimed at sorting out the mess over online sales taxes, which consumers owe but states rarely collect. Now, House GOP leaders are floating what they call a compromise:  Set national rules for sales tax collection based on the location of the seller, not the buyer.  It is […]

Read More

A Value-Added Tax That Won’t Raise Revenues Or Boost Taxes on the Poor

By :: November 26th, 2013

For many years, Michael Graetz, now a law professor at Columbia University, has been promoting a national Value-Added Tax (VAT) that would become the principal levy paid by most Americans. VATs–and similar broad-based consumption taxes–are enormously controversial in the U.S. even though they are ubiquitous throughout the rest of the world and enjoy widespread support […]

Read More

“Common Sense” Aside, What Do We Really Know About Capital Income Taxes and Growth?

By :: March 15th, 2013

If you’re discussing tax policy with someone who asserts that his or her point is “just common sense,” this could indicate one of two things: Either no deep thought is required—as the person would have you believe. Or no deep thought has been applied. The “common sense” notion that capital income taxes hinder growth seems […]

Read More

Congress May Not Rewrite the Tax Code in 2013, But It Could Make It Simpler

By :: February 21st, 2013

As regular readers of Tax Vox know, I don’t believe there is much chance President Obama and Congress will agree on individual broad-based tax reform in 2013. Without a deal on how much this new tax system should raise, talking about a big rewrite is futile. However, Obama and Congress still have an opportunity to do something very […]

Read More

Can the Income Tax Fund the Government We Want?

By :: February 5th, 2013

Can the income tax fund the government we seem to want? Probably not. Will lawmakers create a revenue system that will? Not anytime soon. That was the consensus of four tax policy experts at an Urban Institute panel I moderated this afternoon. The panelists–historian Joe Thorndike, Urban Institute economist and tax reform veteran Gene Steuerle, […]

Read More

The Downside of States as Laboratories for Tax Reform

By :: February 5th, 2013

With state finances gradually improving, some Republican governors are turning their attention to fundamental tax reform.  Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has proposed replacing his state’s personal and corporate income taxes with higher sales taxes.  Nebraska’s Dave Heineman and North Carolina’s Pat McCrory would do something similar, broadening the sales tax base and perhaps including some […]

Read More

A New Look at an Old Consumption Tax

By :: June 21st, 2012

Twenty-five years ago, Princeton economist David Bradford designed what he called the X Tax. The idea–a progressive consumption tax–generated lots of discussion among tax experts. Wonks loved it for its elegant simplicity though there were (and are) real questions about how the tax would work in an increasingly international economy and how it would treat […]

Read More