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Publication Date: September 2009

Publisher(s): Tax Policy Center

Author(s): William G. Gale

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Banking and finance (Taxation and tax policy)

Keywords: Federal Budgets & Fiscal Policy; Tax Distribution and Economic Trends; Taxes and Social Programs; Budget Issues

Type: Report


The Volcker task force on tax reform, part of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, faces a daunting task that is made materially more difficult by ex ante constraints placed on its purview and recommendations. Broad-based reform proposals seem to be out of the question, and distributional constraints appear to eliminate many serious ideas. Nevertheless, I believe that significant tax simplification is feasible despite the task force's constraints, and I will take it as a given that simplification is desirable.