Who should pay taxes, how should they be collected, and how do they affect the economy? Should the income tax be tinkered with, replaced with a flat tax or left alone? Here, Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija bring together all of the data, analytical insight and related material bearing on tax reform to explore the fundamental questions and choices inherent in tax policymaking. "Taxing Ourselves" begins with a concise overview of the US tax system as it exists in the 1990s, offering historical and international perspectives on taxation. It examines the criteria that should serve as guides for tax policy - fairness, the promotion of economic prosperity, and simplicity - and explores the controversies and difficulties related to each one. Crucial questions about how the burden of our tax system is actually distributed and the economic effects of taxation are addressed. Slemrod and Bakija review the key elements of fundamental tax reform proposals, including a single rate, a clean base, and a consumption case. Finally they take a detailed look at the major alternatives for tax reform, providing concise guidelines that will make clear the choices involved in tax policy.