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.
Devesh Kapur, John P. Lewis, Richard C. Webb
August 1, 2011
Henry J. Aaron is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he holds the Bruce and Virginia MacLaury Chair. Among his many books are Can We Say No? The Challenge of Rationing Health Care, with William B. Schwartz and Melissa Cox (Brookings, 2006), and Reforming Medicare: Options,Tradeoffs, and Opportunities, written with Jeanne Lambrew (Brookings, 2008).
Harvey Galper is a senior fellow in the Brookings Economic Studies program.
Joseph A. Pechman is a former director of Economic Studies and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.