This article is not all that recent anymore, but it's one I found intriguing and worth going back to:
Just What This Downturn Demands: A Consumption Tax
The first reform that Barack Obama should consider is replacing the progressive income tax with a progressive tax on consumption. A family would report its income to the Internal Revenue Service as it does now, and also its savings, as it now reports contributions to retirement accounts. Annual consumption would then be calculated as the family’s income minus its savings. Its taxable consumption would be that amount minus a large standard deduction — say, $30,000 for a family of four.
A family that earned $60,000 and saved $10,000, for example, would have taxable consumption of $20,000. Initial tax rates on consumption would be low, and would then rise steadily with consumption, topping out at higher levels than the current top rates on income.
Such a tax could raise more revenue than the current system, yet would be far less burdensome for families at nearly all income levels. Because of the large standard deduction, middle-income families would pay less than they did before, and high-income consumers could limit their tax increases by saving more.How painful would that be? Some wealthy families now spend millions of dollars on coming-of-age parties for their children. A steeply progressive consumption tax would encourage them to spend less, which would not be much of a sacrifice, since the main effect would be to lower the bar that defines an acceptable coming-of-age party for people in their tax bracket.
What do you think of this idea? One problem that might be pointed out is that those million dollar coming of age parties generate some employment. But perhaps the other benefits of such a plan could outweigh that? I'm no economist, so I'll let others argue these points. But I can see some good points to this concept.