There’s a good post by John Cochrane at his blog. Here’s a snippet:
Economists should be spending their time studying the disincentives of the tax system, not its “fairness,” on which we have little professional expertise. Yes, you heard it here, economics really has nothing to say about whether “the rich” should pay more or less taxes — but we have a lot to say about what happens to economies that tax away the incentive to become rich, to study, move, start businesses, innovate, hire others, and produce great products along the way. But the (dis) incentives of the tax system are even more opaque, again deliberately. Not even every tax economist I have ever asked the question of can answer “what is your all-in marginal tax rate?” If it were clear, I suspect a lot more people would stop working!
He puts in an oar for a value-added tax. Value-added taxes have two main defects: they are largely hidden and they are terribly regressive. It is possible to correct the regressivity. For example, you could “prebate” the tax on a sliding scale based on income. That would also have the problem of eliminating the simplicity of the VAT. Not a single country with a VAT does this which I think should tell you something.
You could also prebate the tax without respect to income a la Andrew Yang. That reduces the regressivity while preserving the simplicity. IMO a VAT while intellectually appealing would be disastrous in the United States due to our low degree of social cohesion and the furtiveness of the VAT. It would also be catastrophic for state and local governments.