The flat tax is Washington's newest rage. Of the six major contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, all but one favors a system that is at least flatter than the current one, and three have advanced detailed proposals to implement a true flat tax.

This week alone, Sen. Phil Gramm unveiled his ideas for a flat tax while Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole cautiously endorsed his party's efforts to develop a "fairer, flatter, simpler approach" to taxation. The GOP front- runner did not, however, back any specific approach.

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