McClure, Charles E. in “Payback Time: Many See the VAT as a Cure for Deficits” by Catherine Rampell, The New York Times, 12/11/09

“Runaway federal deficits have thrust a politically unsavory savior into the spotlight: a nationwide tax on goods and services.

Members of Congress, like their constituents, are squeamish about such ideas, instead suggesting spending cuts or higher taxes on the rich.  But with a lack of political will to do the former, and a practical ceiling to how much revenue can be milked from the latter, economists across the political spectrum say a consumption tax may be inevitable once the economy fully recovers.

‘We have to start paying our bills eventually,” said Charles E. McLure, a tax economist who worked in the Reagan administration. “This strikes me as the best and most obvious way of doing it.’”