March 16, 2005

Cowen & Sawicky on Tax Reform

Tyler Cowen & Max Sawicky:

Alan Greenspan has called for a consumption tax and President Bush has toyed with the related idea of a national sales tax. These proposals have some ideal economic properties but the politics don't work. Consumption taxes are largely invisible; you don't see what you pay on a yearly tax return but, rather, it is absorbed in the price of goods. Not surprisingly, Western European countries have both consumption taxes and high rates of overall taxation. Flat taxes bring some benefits but wouldn't drastically lower the costs of our tax code; the biggest difficulty in filing your return is calculating your income.

I recommend starting on the expenditure side. Let's gradually freeze Social Security benefits in real terms, introduce more market incentives to health care, redo the Medicare prescription-drug bill, and cut discretionary government spending. We should admit more revenue-positive immigrants as well and stop subsidizing the defense of Western Europeans.

Posted by James Zellmer at March 16, 2005 12:01 AM | Subscribe to this site via RSS:
Posted to Taxes