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Technology & Innovation

A Flat Consumption Tax

Extending unemployment benefits and the Bush tax cuts are a good first step to rewriting America's tax code, says Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, who favors a flat consumption tax.

A broad-based flat income tax could have a relatively modest tax rate—perhaps about 25%—and still raise as much revenue as the tax structure that would exist if the Bush tax cuts were allow to lapse. A flat consumption tax would be even better than a flat income tax since such a consumption tax would not distort the incentive to save. However, this type of consumption tax is unlikely to be introduced as a substitute for the income tax. It could play a role as a supplement to the income tax if that combination were necessary to prevent a narrow-based progressive income tax system from being imposed.


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