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Post-Event Summary
AEI scholar Alan D. Viard formally unveiled his new book, “Progressive Consumption Taxation: The X Tax Revisited,” co-authored with Robert Carroll of Ernst & Young, to a packed room on Capitol Hill on Monday. The book proposes replacing the current income tax system with the X tax, a progressive consumption tax developed by the late Princeton professor David Bradford. The authors provide not only a detailed description of the X tax and persuasive arguments to support consumption tax reform but also suggestions for smoothly implementing their ideas.


In his remarks, Viard emphasized the main advantages of the X tax — that, unlike the income tax, it does not penalize saving and investment and that it maintains progressivity in the tax system by taxing firms and high-paid workers at higher rates than other workers. He also argued that implementing a consumption tax alongside the current income tax system would not be ideal because it would minimize the simplicity and growth gains of the switch to the X tax while providing the government with an additional revenue source to exploit.

Following Viard’s remarks, the Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards pointed out that the book provides a highly informative discussion of the fundamentals of tax reforms that would benefit anyone seeking to learn more about the basic economics of the issue. James Mackie of the U.S. Department of the Treasury analyzed the distributional effects of adopting the X tax, focusing particularly on transition relief. Overall, both discussants applauded the authors’ work.


Event Description
The X tax, first proposed by Princeton University economist David Bradford, is a progressive consumption tax that offers a game-changing solution to the tax problems that have hampered the U.S. economy and poisoned its political system. Replacing America’s current income tax system with the X tax would remove tax penalties on saving and investment while maintaining progressivity.

“Progressive Consumption Taxation: The X Tax Revisited,” which was written by Alan Viard and Robert Carroll and will be released on June 4th, is the most thorough analysis of the X tax available. It tackles the difficult issues of transition and implementation that are often glossed over in big-think conversations about tax reform. At this event, Alan Viard will present the X tax proposal while James Mackie of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute will offer commentary.


12:15 PM
Registration and lunch

12:30 PM
Alan Viard, AEI

Chris Edwards, Cato Institute
James Mackie, U.S. Department of the Treasury
John Cusey, AEI

2:00 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Veronika Polakova at [email protected], 202.862.4880.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact Véronique Rodman at [email protected], 202.862.4871.

Speaker Biographies

John Cusey has 15 years of political and policy experience on the state level and in the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. federal government. He began his career working for members of the California State Assembly, where he specialized in education and budget policy. He spent seven years working for U.S. Congress as a press secretary, legislative director and executive director of a caucus. As a political appointee in the George W. Bush administration, he was the senior counselor for policy and legislative affairs in the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Chris Edwards is the director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute and editor of the Downsizing the Federal Government website. He is a top expert on federal and state tax and budget issues. Before joining Cato, he was a senior economist on the congressional Joint Economic Committee, a manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers and an economist with the Tax Foundation. Edwards has testified before U.S. Congress on fiscal issues many times and his articles on tax and budget policies have appeared in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and other major newspapers. He is the author of “Downsizing the Federal Government” and co-author of “Global Tax Revolution.” He was also a member of the Fiscal Future Commission of the National Academy of Sciences.

James Mackie is the director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Tax Analysis (OTA), which is the professional economics staff of the Office of Tax Policy. Prior to serving as the director of OTA, Mackie was the director of the Revenue Estimating Division of OTA and served as a staff economist in OTA. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Virginia. For many years, he represented the Treasury at biannual meetings of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. He has published and presented numerous articles on capital income taxation and is the recipient of the 2001 Richard Musgrave Award for his outstanding paper published in the National Tax Journal. 

Alan D. Viard was a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and an assistant professor of economics at Ohio State University prior to joining AEI. He has also worked for the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Tax Analysis, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers and the Joint Committee on Taxation of the U.S. Congress. Viard is a frequent contributor to AEI’s Tax Policy Outlook, AEI’s On the Margin column in Tax Notes and AEI’s Marginal Impact column in State Tax Notes. In January 2010, Tax Notes nominated him as 2009 Tax Person of the Year. Viard is also the co-author of “Progressive Consumption Taxation: The X Tax Revisited,” published in May 2012.

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