Assessing Tax Reform

By Henry J. Aaron; Harvey Galper | Go to book overview

Contributions to Structural Reform

As to the implications for long-term reform, we ask two questions of each plan: (1) Is it itself a reform measure? (2) Will it serve the purposes of long-run reform?

Plan B ranks highest on both counts. Although billed as temporary, it would directly limit many tax preferences and indirectly promote a thorough review of the system. Such a review could well lead to fewer preferences and lower tax rates along the lines of the long-run proposals examined in chapter 3. Although plan D also contains some base- broadening elements, it only slightly reverses the erosion of the tax base and is certainly not of a scale sufficient to permit lower marginal tax rates.

Plans A and C contribute nothing directly to structural tax reform. At best, they serve to maintain pressure for more fundamental changes in the future.


Summary

The lessons for both the short run and the long seem to coincide. The best hope for dealing with both the deficit and the defects of the current tax structure is to tie together in a single commitment, if not a single legislative package, a temporary across-the-board tax increase in the style of plan A or B and long-run reforms that offer the promise of reduced marginal tax rates.

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Assessing Tax Reform
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword ix
  • Contents xi
  • Chapter One - Why the United States Must Reform Its Tax System 1
  • Chapter Two - Thinking About Tax Reform 16
  • Chapter Three - Rebuilding the Income Tax 48
  • Summary 65
  • Chapter Four - the Cash Flow Income Tax 66
  • Conclusion 87
  • Chapter Five - Sales Taxes 121
  • Chapter Six - Short-Run Programs for Raising Revenue 122
  • Summary 128
  • Chapter Seven - the Politics of Tax Reform 129
  • Conclusion 138
  • Index 141
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