ABSTRACT: One of the main advantages of consumption taxation that its advocates, including me, have claimed is simplification. However, the extent to which simplification actually would result from a major consumption-based tax reform would depend not only on the compliance and administrative issues raised by the structure of the hypothetical new system, but also by the politics of enactment. This paper, commissioned for a conference concerning consumption-based reform, asks the inevitably speculative question of how the politics of such a reform, if it occurred, would affect (or impair) the end product. The conclusions reached are not very optimistic.
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