Fundamental Tax Reform: Issues, Choices, and Implications

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Overview

Reform of the federal income tax system has become a perennial item on the domestic policy agenda of the United States, although there is considerable uncertainty over specifics.

Indeed the recent report of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform recommended not one but two divergent policy directions (and included extensive discussion of a third). In FundamentalTax Reform, top experts in tax policy discuss a wide range of issues raised by the prospect of significant tax reform, identifying the most critical questions and considering whether the answers are known, unknown—or unknowable. The debates over tax reform usually concern the advantages and disadvantages of income-based taxation as opposed to any of the several alternative forms of consumption-based taxation. The book opens with chapters that discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and political feasibility of these options. Other chapters consider the effect of tax reform on businesses, especially their investment behavior, and include a discussion of possible problems in any transition to a consumption-based tax; international taxation issues arising in an era of globalization; and individual behavioral response to tax reform, including a view of the topic from the perspective of the relatively new field of behavioral economics. ContributorsRosanne Altshuler,Alan J. Auerbach, John W. Diamond, Harry Grubert, Arnold C. Harberger, Kevin A. Hassett, Thomas J.

Kniesner, Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Edward J. McCaffery, Kathryn Newmark, David Rapson, Daniel Shaviro,Joel Slemrod, James P. Ziliak, George R. ZodrowDiscussants James Alm, Henry J. Aaron, Charles L.

Ballard, Leonard E. Burman, Robert S. Chirinko, Robert D. Dietz, Malcolm Gillis, Roger H. Gordon,Jane G. Gravelle, Timothy S. Gunning, James M. Poterba, Thomas S. Neubig, Alan Viard, George YinJohn W. Diamond is Edward and Hermena Kelly Fellow in Tax Policy and Adjunct Professor of Economics at the Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University. George R. Zodrow is Professor ofEconomics and Rice Scholar at the Baker Institute and International Research Fellow at the Centre for Business Taxation, Oxford University.

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What People Are Saying

Douglas Holtz-Eakin

"Diamond and Zudrow have produced a timely book on fundamental tax reform that avoids revisiting old and tired issues, appeals to a broad policy-oriented audience, and draws leading scholars to comment on reform-related issues."--Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics

Charles McLure

"This volume is required reading for anyone undertaking -- or even considering -- fundamental tax reform. The authors and discussants of the papers take a fresh look at important issues that many thought were settled."--Charles McLure, Senior Fellow Emeritus, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Glenn Hubbard

"Expiring tax provisions, concern over the Alternative Minimum Tax, and global competition in business taxation imply that major tax reform in the United States will be on the agenda for the next president. But which reform? This volume tackles tough questions in the effects of tax reform on business investment, asset prices, and U.S. competitiveness, and will be essential reading for economists writing on tax reform and for policy advisors."--R. Glenn Hubbard, Dean, Columbia School of Business

From the Publisher
"Diamond and Zodrow have produced a timely book on fundamental tax reform that avoids revisiting old and tired issues, appeals to a broad policy-oriented audience, and draws leading scholars to comment on reform-related issues." Douglas Holtz-Eakin , SeniorFellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics

"Expiring tax provisions, concern over the alternative minimum tax, and global competition in business taxation imply that major tax reform in the United States will be on the agenda for the next president. But which reform? This book tackles tough questions regarding the effects of tax reform on business investment, asset prices, and U.S. competitiveness; it will be essential reading for economists writing on tax reform and for policy advisors." R. GlennHubbard , Dean, Columbia School of Business

"This book is required reading for anyone undertaking or even considering fundamental tax reform. The authors and discussants of the papers take a fresh look at important issues that many thought were settled." Charles McLure , Senior Fellow Emeritus, HooverInstitution, Stanford University

Charles McLure
"This volume is required reading for anyone undertaking — or even considering —fundamental tax reform. The authors and discussants of the papers take a fresh look at important issues that many thought were settled."—Charles McLure, Senior Fellow Emeritus, Hoover Institution,Stanford University
Douglas Holtz-Eakin
"Diamond and Zudrow have produced a timely book on fundamental tax reform that avoids revisiting old and tired issues, appeals to a broad policy-oriented audience, and draws leading scholars to comment on reform-related issues."—Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Senior Fellow, PetersonInstitute for International Economics
Glenn Hubbard
"Expiring tax provisions, concern over the Alternative Minimum Tax, and global competition in business taxation imply that major tax reform in the United States will be on the agenda for the next president. But which reform? This volume tackles tough questions in the effects of tax reform on business investment, asset prices, and U.S. competitiveness, and will be essential reading for economists writing on tax reform and for policy advisors."—R. Glenn Hubbard, Dean,Columbia School of Business
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262042475
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 568
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

John W. Diamond is Edward A. and Hermena Hancock Kelly Fellow in Public Finance at RiceUniversity's James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.

George R. Zodrow is Allyn R. and Gladys M. Cline Chair of Economics and Rice Scholar, BakerInstitute for Public Policy, at Rice University.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

Foreword James A. Baker III Baker, James A., III

Introduction Is It Time for Fundamental Tax Reform? John W. Diamond Diamond, John W. George R. Zodrow Zodrow, George R. 1

I Overviews

1 Tax Reform in the Twenty-first Century Alan J. Auerbach Auerbach, Alan J. 27

Discussion Henry J. Aaron Aaron, Henry J. 61

Discussion James M. Poterba Poterba, James M. 67

2 Simplifying Assumptions: How Might the Politics of Consumption Tax Reform Affect (Impair) the End Product? Daniel Shaviro Shaviro, Daniel 75

Discussion James Alm Alm, James 125

Discussion George K. Yin Yin, George K. 133

II Business Issues

3 Is Tax Reform Good for Business? Is a Pro-business Tax Policy Good for America? Joel Slemrod Slemrod, Joel 143

Discussion Robert D. Dietz Dietz, Robert D. 171

Discussion Thomas S. Neubig Neubig, Thomas S. 181

4 Taxation and Business Behavior: A Review of the Recent Literature Kevin A. Hassett Hassett, Kevin A. Kathryn Newmark Newmark, Kathryn 191

Discussion Robert S. Chirinko Chirinko, Robert S. 215

Discussion Timothy S. Gunning Gunning, Timothy S. 223

5 Consumption Tax Reform: Changes in Business Equity and Housing Prices John W. Diamond Diamond, John W. George R. Zodrow Zodrow, George R. 227

Discussion Leonard E. Burman Burman, Leonard E. 261

Discussion Alan D. Viard Viard, Alan D. 267

III International Business Issues

6 Corporation Tax Incidence: Reflections on What Is Known, Unknown and Unknowable Arnold C. Harberger Harberger, Arnold C. 283

Discussion Malcolm Gillis Gillis, Malcolm 309

Discussion Jane G. Gravelle Gravelle, Jane G. 313

7 Corporate Taxes in the World Economy: Reforming the Taxationof Cross-border Income Harry Grubert Grubert, Harry Rosanne Altshuler Altshuler, Rosanne 319

Discussion Charles L. Ballard Ballard, Charles L. 355

Discussion Roger H. Gordon Gordon, Roger H. 359

IV Individual Issues

8 Evidence of Tax-Induced Individual Behavioral Responses Thomas J. Kniesner Kniesner, Thomas J. James P. Ziliak Ziliak, James P. 375

Discussion Emmanuel Saez Saez, Emmanuel 413

Discussion Robin Sickles Sickles, Robin 417

9 Comparing Average and Marginal Tax Rates under the FairTax and the Current System of Federal Taxation Laurence J. Kotlikoff Kotlikoff, Laurence J. David Rapson Rapson, David 421

Discussion Jane G. Gravelle Gravelle, Jane G. 443

Discussion Peter Mieszkowski Mieszkowski, Peter 447

10 Behavioral Economics and Fundamental Tax Reform Edward J. McCaffery McCaffery, Edward J. 455

Discussion Pamela H. Moomau Moomau, Pamela H. 485

Discussion Jeff Strnad Strnad, Jeff 493

Bibliography 501

Index 529

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