Professor Michael J. Graetz Receives National Tax Association Award, Updates Competitive Tax Plan

Michael J. Graetz, Justus S. Hotchkiss Professor Emeritus of Law and Professorial Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, received the Daniel M. Holland Medal during last week’s annual conference of the National Tax Association. The Medal is awarded for outstanding contributions to the study and practice of public finance.

Graetz also presented his “Competitive Tax Plan” at the academic conference. The plan, he says, is “an update and an epilogue” to his book 100 Million Unnecessary Returns: A Simple, Fair, and Competitive Tax Plan for the United States, which advocated for a value-added tax (VAT) that would act as a national sales tax.

The Five Pieces of Graetz’s “Competitive Tax Plan” presented this week are:

• First, enact a VAT, a broad-based tax on sales of goods and services, now used by more than 160 countries worldwide. Many English-speaking countries call this a goods and services tax (GST).

• Second, use the revenue produced by this consumption tax to finance an income tax exemption of $100,000 of family income—freeing more than 120 million American families from income taxation—and lower the income tax rates on income above that amount.

• Third, lower the corporate income tax rate to 15 percent.

• Fourth, protect low-and-moderate-income workers from a tax increase through payroll tax cuts.

• Fifth, protect low-and-moderate income families from a tax increase by substantially expanded refundable tax credits for children, delivered through debit cards to be used at the cash register.

Graetz is a leading expert on national and international tax law. In addition to his appointment at Yale Law School, he serves on the Columbia Law School faculty as Columbia Alumni Professor of Tax Law and the Wilbur H. Friedman Professor of Tax Law. He has written many books on federal taxation as well as more than 60 articles on a wide range of tax, international taxation, health policy, and social insurance issues. His most recent book, The End of Energy: The Unmaking of America’s Environment, Security and Independence, was published in 2011 and assesses U.S. energy policy.

View more details about Graetz’s “Competitive Tax Plan.”
Read a Wall Street Journal article about Graetz’s plan.