Skip to content

Louis Kaplow & Alvin C. Warren, Jr., Professor Strnad's Rejoinder: Simply Semantics, 39 Stan. L. Rev. 419 (1987).

Abstract: Most of Professor Strnad's original article was devoted to a lengthy algebraic argument asserting that a cash flow tax, rather than an income tax, implements the Haig-Simons concept of income in a non-general-equilibrium setting. In our reply, we made two points about this argument: (1) Professor Strnad's complex algebraic demonstration amounted to a simple and familiar tautology, and (2) the argument did not support his conclusion because Professor Strnad was not in fact applying the Haig-Simons concept used by tax policy analysts for over fifty years. We therefore called his quite distinct formulation, which is definitionally implemented by a cash flow tax, "Strnad income." Professor Strnad's specification of his concept of income requires that: (1) after-tax net present values equal those in the no-tax world, reduced by the tax rate, and (2) after-tax changes in present value equal those in the no-tax world, reduced by the tax rate.