Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Daniel Shaviro (NYU), The Rise and Fall of the Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax: What Was that All About? (Presentation Slides):
These slides, prepared for the keynote address at the Nordic Tax Research Council Annual Conference in Haikko Borga, Finland, on June 1, 2017, offer background regarding the reasons for the rise and fall of the destination-based cash flow tax (DBCFT) as an apparently live legislative option. They place this saga in the broader context of the U.S.'s being the only major country without a value-added tax (VAT).
According to Larry Summers' well-known joke: "The U.S. has no VAT because conservatives view it as a money machine, while liberals view it as a tax on the poor. We'll get the VAT as soon as liberals figure out that it's a money machine and conservatives see that it is a tax on the poor."
While the joke is often quoted, it tends not to be much analyzed. How might one explain the fact that things have not gone as Summers (seemingly reasonably) predicts? The slides address and seek to explain the apparent paradox.