The Missing Links in Tax Reform

USC Law School, Olin Working Paper No. 99-16

30 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 1999


There has been increasing rhetoric over the last decade about fundamental change in the nation's tax code. The reality of this period, in contrast, has featured minor changes within the existing structure and increasing complexity. This article argues that three inter-related factors -- the absence of more popular input, the failure of anyone in the political sphere to articulate sound and appealing basic principles, and the lack of a broadly acceptable policy alternative -- explain this gap. The article concludes with an argument for a progressive consumption tax as an example of a grand compromise that could help to achieve the goals of greater simplification and principle in tax.

Suggested Citation

McCaffery, Edward J., The Missing Links in Tax Reform. USC Law School, Olin Working Paper No. 99-16. Available at SSRN: or

Edward J. McCaffery (Contact Author)

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-2567 (Phone)
213-740-5502 (Fax)

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