The Flat Tax: Simple, Efficient, Fair. Or is it?

William G. Gale
William G. Gale The Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Chair in Federal Economic Policy, Senior Fellow - Economic Studies, Co-Director - Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center

June 1, 1998

The U.S. tax system remains continually, and deservedly, under attack. Many people find taxes too complex. Analysts blame the tax system for depressing saving, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. Few people believe it to be entirely fair or transparent.

Members of both political parties have put forth plans to overhaul the current tax system. The best known is the “flat tax.” Conceived by Stanford economist Robert Hall and political scientist Alvin Rabushka in the early 1980s, the flat tax has been given legislative from in the past few years by Rep. Richard Armey (R-TX) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL).