What Does It Mean? Consumption Taxation, Tax Expenditures, and the Future of the Internal Revenue Code
This chapter places the defined contribution paradigm in the context of contemporary tax policy debates about consumption taxation and tax expenditures. It concludes that, under the most likely scenarios, the individual accounts of the defined contribution paradigm will persist as central features of federal tax law. A cash flow consumption tax would represent the ultimate extension, indeed the triumph, of the defined contribution paradigm since all savings would occur through individual accounts. The most likely future of the Code is the continuation of the status quo, whether that status quo is considered a proto-consumption tax or an imperfect income tax laden with tax preferences. It is unlikely that Congress will upset that status quo by jettisoning the individual accounts of the defined contribution paradigm as this would defeat the expectations and raise the taxes of Congress's middle and upper-middle class constituents.
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