On the other hand, I'm surprised to see the strong utilitarian view described as the consensus. I don't know much about utilitarian optimal tax theory, but I also don't know of any public finance or policy people who are dying to revive the prescriptive insights of Jeremy Bentham and Francis Edgeworth. Is there a cult of utilitarian social planners out there waiting to propose taxes on inputs like height, intelligence and race?
Update: Mankiw responds here with a restatement of the paper's purpose. I cobbled together a response to that here, and Emmanuel Saez responds by email here