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Uneasy Compromise

Problems of a Hybrid Income-Consumption Tax

Edited by Henry Aaron, Harvey Galper, and Joseph A. Pechman

Whether the nation would be better served by an income tax or by a consumption tax has been debated by tax experts for decades. In practice, tax systems everywhere are mixed or “hybrid” systems. And while legislators have reasons for enacting such systems, the mix results in inequities, inefficiencies, and abuse.

For Uneasy Compromise, Brookings brought together some of the nation’s most knowledgeable tax experts and analysts to address the question: How should lawmakers grapple with the problems that arise from the side-by-side existence of principles of consumption taxation with principles of income taxation? Rather than propose rules for an ideal system that will never exist, this book addresses the problems created by a hybrid system. In so doing, it offers policymakers a comprehensive and sophisticated analysis of our current tax system and the tools for evaluating proposed refinements.

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