The economics of federal tax policy

A 1040 Individual tax form with calculator and pencil.
Editor's note:

The report below is a chapter from the book, “Tackling the tax code: Efficient and equitable ways to raise revenue.” Read the full book here.


The federal government faces increasing revenue needs driven by the aging of the population and emerging challenges. But the United States collects less revenue than it typically has in the past and less revenue than other governments do today. In addition, how the government raises revenue—not just how much it raises—has critical implications for economic prosperity. This chapter provides a framework for assessing tax policies and understanding their implications for growth and economic inequality.

The authors did not receive financial support from any firm or person for this article or from any firm or person with a financial or political interest in this article. Neither is currently an officer, director, or board member of any organization with a financial or political interest in this article.