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Simplification, Progression and a Level Playing Field

Vickrey, William

With sufficiently well-reasoned and principled reform of tax systems, it is possible to achieve practical simplicity and a reduction in perverse incentives to a far greater degree than under any of the "flat-rate" proposals being advanced, without significant sacrifice of progressively. But it is necessary to eliminate many of the bells and whistles that confer benefits on selected constituencies, and to refrain from attempts to use the income tax as a device to encourage particular activities. There are usually more effective and transparent methods available to accomplish these objectives far more efficiently if done directly and explicitly rather than by tax tinkering motivated in part by a desire to reduce the apparent magnitude of the government "budget" by "off-budget" "tax expenditures."

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Academic Units
Economics
Publisher
Department of Economics, Columbia University
Series
Department of Economics Discussion Papers, 9596-05
Published Here
March 2, 2011

Notes

February 1996

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