Date of Award

Spring 1996

Document Type



Business, Accounting & Economics

First Advisor

Belle Marie Talbert

Second Advisor

Charles Ericksen

Third Advisor

Gene Franks


President Jimmy Carter once called the United States tax code a "disgrace to the human race" (Ruby, 1995, p. 76). Since his presidency, the code has undergone several reforms. Nevertheless, many Americans still seem to concur with President Carter's initial assessment. Some people feel the code is unfair, burdensome, intrusive, complicated, biased towards consumption, and otherwise just a wreck. Therefore, one of the biggest issues facing voters in the upcoming presidential election will be how the candidates propose dealing with the tax code. Recently, a few presidential hopefuls have developed radically new tax code proposals. The new codes would call for the abolishment of the current income tax system and possibly the 16th amendment, which gave Congress the power to impose income taxes. Such radical changes should not be taken lightly by the voters as the tax consequences could be immense. The purpose of this thesis is to explore why tax reform has become such a major issue. Also, the pros and cons of each proposal will be discussed. Although the proposals will affect both individuals and businesses alike, the focus will be primarily on the effects each will have on individuals (disregarding some overlapping issues) since they, not businesses, will be voting in the upcoming election. After reading this thesis, voters will be able to assess if they may be "winners" or "losers" with the different tax proposals.