Several economists, including Adam Smith and Henry George, as well as policy organizations, have presented some principles of a good (or least worst) tax policy. For example, in 2001 the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants published a report (lead author, Annette Nellen), “Guiding Principles of Good Tax Policy”. The purpose of the report was to provide a guide for policymakers for evaluating the current tax structure and to determine which reforms would improve the systems. We can apply these ten principles to four basic tax bases: income, sales, buildings, and land.
I will leave the evaluation of the tax that best fits the principles to the reader.
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FRED E. FOLDVARY, Ph.D., is an economist and has been writing weekly editorials for Progress.org since 1997. Foldvary's commentaries are well respected for their currency, sound logic, wit, and consistent devotion to human freedom. He received his B.A. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University. He has taught economics at Virginia Tech, John F. Kennedy University, Santa Clara University, and currently teaches at San Jose State University.
Foldvary is the author of The Soul of Liberty, Public Goods and Private Communities, and Dictionary of Free Market Economics. He edited and contributed to Beyond Neoclassical Economics and, with Dan Klein, The Half-Life of Policy Rationales. Foldvary's areas of research include public finance, governance, ethical philosophy, and land economics.
Foldvary is notably known for going on record in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology in 1997 to predict the exact timing of the 2008 economic depression—eleven years before the event occurred. He was able to do so due to his extensive knowledge of the real-estate cycle.