Consumption-Based Direct Taxes: A Guided Tour of the Amusement Park
McLure, Charles E.
Zodrow, George R.
Although consumption-based direct taxation has long been advocated in academic and policy circles, very few countries have actually implemented such taxes. This article provides an overview of alternative approaches to direct consumption taxation and examines arguments favoring consumption taxes over income taxes. It then describes and analyzes efforts at “fundamental tax reform” involving replacing an income tax with a consumption tax in both the United States and several developing countries and countries in transition from socialism in which the authors have been involved. This paper is a preliminary version of a paper that is forthcoming in the journal FinanzArchiv. The paper was originally presented at a conference on “Alternative Methods of Taxing Individuals,” Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, International Studies Program, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, June 8-9, 2006.