Gregory Mankiw, “Much to Love, and Hate in a VAT,” The New York Times Business Section, 05/02/10

“So why, if these two tax systems are really the same, are conservatives attracted to the flat tax and repelled by the VAT? It is because the flat tax is usually proposed as a substitute for our current tax system, whereas the VAT is often suggested as an addition to it.  The bottom line, from both political perspectives, is that a VAT is neither blessed nor evil.  It is a tool.  We can use it to advance a larger government, a more efficient tax system or some combination of the two.  That will be the key issue in the coming debate.”