Ignatius, David, “The VAT may resolve debt crisis, but for politicians it’s too soon to be right,” The Washington Post, 04/29/10

“The herd gallops toward the precipice for a simple reason: It’s lonely and unpopular to go the other way.  Take the question of tax policies that could avert the next big U.S. financial disaster, which is our ballooning federal deficit.   The sensible real-world answer, many economists argue, is a value-added tax that would encourage saving at the same time it pays down the deficit to manageable levels.   But politicians are terrified of being right too soon on this one.  The Senate this month voted 85 to 13 for a resolution that called the VAT “a massive tax increase that will cripple families on fixed income” — and vaporized its political prospects.  By ruling out a VAT when it could keep the federal deficit in check, politicians have all but guaranteed that the debt crisis, when it comes, will be more damaging. But by then, everyone will be clamoring for a VAT, so it will be safe to endorse it.”