This book has been a long time in coming. It is the product of many years of thinking, reading, writing, and talking about tax, with many persons and in many forms and forums. It would be foolish to attempt to list all of my personal debts here. But fools rush in, and no one but a fool would write a book about tax reform intended for the masses. And so with apologies to those I am no doubt omitting— and with the clear understanding that no one I mention agrees with all or even most of what I have to say in the book—I thank Scott Altman, Mike Alvarez, Jon Beckman, Chuck Davenport, Joel Newman, Jonathan Schwartz, Laurence Seidman, Joe Spieler, Kirk Stark, Leo Weigman, and Larry Zelenak for their comments on the manuscript and for various forms of encouragement in producing it.
I owe an older debt to my tax professors at Harvard Law School: Louis Kaplow, Bernie Wolfman, and especially Bill Andrews, whose wonderful work on consumption taxation got me started on this long and winding road. I cannot blame my education or my educators for any mistakes that follow.
My work on the estate tax in particular has brought me into contact with several people affiliated with think tanks or other organizations, generally in Washington, D.C., who have been helpful in furthering my thinking about tax, including Bill Beach at the Heritage Foundation, Bill Gale at Brookings, Douglas Holtz-Eakin at the National Tax Association, Steve Moore at Cato, and Pat Soldano of the Center for the Study of Taxation. Senator Bob Packwood has been a source of inspiration ever since I testified before his Senate Finance Committee about the estate tax. Richard Wagner and I wrote a fun