Promoting Growth, Maintaining Progressivity, and Dealing with the Fiscal Crisis CGE Simulations of a Temporary VAT Used for Debt Reduction
Diamond, John W.
Zodrow, George R.
economic growth; progressivity; debt reduction; computable general equilibrium modeling; value-added taxation
Trade-offs between economic efficiency, growth, and distributional equity permeate economics, including discussions of tax policy and tax reform. Computable general equilibrium (CGE) modeling is one tool that is often used to estimate the magnitudes of the variables that determine the efficiency, growth, and equity properties of alternative tax reforms. In this article, we report the results of simulations of a CGE model that examines the economic and distributional effects of the enactment in the United States of a temporary value-added tax used to reduce the level of the national debt. The results suggest that such a reform is generally moderately progressive both for cohorts alive at the time of reform and for future generations, at least within the context of lifetime measures of tax burden, and that current middle-aged and elderly generations must bear a burden to confer a gain, relative to the status quo, on younger and future generations.