George Will, declaring that he could support a VAT only if the 16th amendment is repealed:
When liberals advocate a value-added tax, conservatives should respond: Taxing consumption has merits, so we will consider it — after the 16th Amendment is repealed.
A VAT will be rationalized as necessary to restore fiscal equilibrium. But without ending the income tax, a VAT would be just a gargantuan instrument for further subjugating Americans to government.
Because the income tax is not broadly based, it radiates moral hazard: Its incentives are for perverse behavior. The top 1% of earners provide 40% of that tax’s receipts; the top 5% provide 61%; the bottom 50% provide 3%. So the tax makes a substantial majority complacent about government’s growth.
Increasingly, the income tax is codified envy. A VAT is the political class’s recourse when the resources of the minority that is targeted by the envious are insufficient to finance ravenous government.
(via Dan Mitchell)