January 23, 2013
Sanchirico Presents Optimal Tax Policy and the Symmetries of Ignorance Today at Boston College
Chris William Sanchirico (Pennsylvania) presents Optimal Tax Policy and the Symmetries of Ignorance, 66 Tax Law Rev. ___ (2012), at Boston College today as part of its Tax Policy Workshop Series hosted by Jim Repetti and Diane Ring:
What government-observable characteristics should determine the taxes that an individual pays and/or the transfers that she receives? This article focuses on a specific aspect of this fundamental question of tax policy: the implications of policymakers’ uncertainty regarding the outcomes of tax policy choices. The article identifies and questions two implicit premises in policy-uncertainty-based arguments against including taxable attributes other than labor earnings in the base. The first is that greater uncertainty surrounds the optimal taxation of non-labor-earnings attributes than surrounds the optimal taxation of labor earnings. The second is that tax policymakers ought to follow a kind of precautionary principle under which uncertainty regarding an attribute counsels base exclusion. The article explains why both premises are flawed.
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