Kenworthy, Lane, “Taxes and Inequality: Lessons from Abroad,” Kenworthy blog, Univ. of Arizona, 02/10/08

“Affluent countries that achieve substantial inequality reduction do so with tax systems that are large but no more progressive than ours.  What lesson should Americans draw for tax reform? In my view, the key one is that a national consumption tax — as a supplement to the income tax, not a replacement for it — is worth serious consideration.  The drawback is that consumption taxes tend to be regressive; because the poor (by necessity) spend a larger fraction of their income than the rich, they pay a larger share of that income in consumption taxes. Yet the degree of regressivity is a political choice. It can be greater or lesser, depending on whether certain items, such as food, are exempted.  A national consumption tax (we currently have state and local sales taxes) would help to raise revenue.”