U.S. Anti-Tax Sentiment Linked To History Of Slavery, Economists Argue In Book

Forbes Finance 2 weeks ago

The notion America’s wealthiest individuals do not pay enough taxes has widespread political support, and several Democratic politicians and presidential candidates have strong proposals for various forms of wealth taxes.

Yet taxing wealth has proved elusive in this country. Witness the latest effort at tax 'reform' from Donald Trump and the Republican Party, which moved radically in the opposite direction.

The new law cut individual taxes for the rich and slashed corporate taxes, further boosting inequality that is already at levels not seen since the Great Depression.

A new book entitled “The Triumph of Injusitce: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay,” by economists Emanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, helps trace the roots of the apparent tax-phobia that pervades the American political class.

The Berkeley economists maintain that the reluctance to tax wealth is linked at least in part to the gruesome days of slavery, when human beings were kidnapped then bought and sold as property.

While Northern states had developed fairly elaborate systems of taxation, Saez and Zucman argue, the economies of the South were more primitive, and local governments made no attempt to raise revenues by taxing income.

Citing historian Robin Einhorn, the economists identify a "deep link between this backwardness and slavery."

"A fear haunted slaveholders of the South: that non-slaveholding majorities would use taxation to undermine and eventually abolish" slavery, Zucman and Saez write.

"They particularly feared wealth taxation: at a time when 40% of the population was considered property, property taxes were an existential threat for slaveholding planters."

Doesn't American politics make so much more sense with a little bit of context and history?

"While the sources of anti-government sentiment in America are complex, over the last centuries, few have done more to perfect the anti-tax narrative than Southern slaveholders," Saez and Zucman argue.

Tax phobia is not the only pervasive anti-social instinct in the United States descendant from the scourge of chattel slavery, according to research from other economists and activists.

Opposition to more expansive social programs, including universal healthcare, also owe their origins and dissemination to the destructive political manifestations of American racism.


Source link
Read also:
Business Insider › Finance › 2 months ago
The Federal Reserve System has employed the same share of women economists since 2013, a new study by the Brookings Institution shows. In the same time frame, the share of minority economists has ticked up slightly. Both measures fall short of...
CNN › Opinions › 2 months ago
The investor community must come together and mobilize against modern slavery, writes Fiona Reynolds, chair of the Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking.
USA Today › 1 month ago
Remembering oral histories adds to our collective memory of slavery. Vernon Butler, from Flushing, Michigan, told us how his great-great-grandmother and her children escaped slavery in Mississippi.
Business Insider › Finance › 1 month ago
Tax day 2020, when tax returns are due for income earned in 2019, is April 15. Most Americans file a state income tax return and a federal income tax return. If you live in one of nine states with no income tax, you may not need to file a state return...
Business Insider › Finance › 1 month ago
Taxes are due on April 15, 2020. Many Americans will file a state income tax return in addition to a federal income tax return. US states have either a flat income tax, a progressive tax, or no income tax. The top income tax rate in the country is 13.3...
Business Insider › Finance › 2 months ago
New data on Monday showed that Germany's composite PMI sank to its lowest level since October 2012. And sentiment among manufacturers fell to a 2009 low. The PMI is the yardstick used to measure business sentiment. The service sector also lost momentum...
Business Insider › Finance › 2 weeks ago
US consumer sentiment hit its highest level in four months as Americans took advantage of lower interest rates and trade-war tensions abated. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index reached 96.8 in November, falling into the upper half of...
Forbes › Finance › 2 weeks ago
America's reticence to tax wealth can be traced back to the gruesome days of slavery, when human beings were kidnapped then bought and sold as property.
The Wall Street Journal › Finance › 0 month ago
Economists are roughly split over whether the recent hiring slowdown reflects primarily a shortage of workers or softening demand for labor, according to the Wall Street Journal’s latest survey of economists.
Business Insider › Politics › 2 weeks ago
Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both put forward wealth tax plans that would hit the nation's richest citizens with steeper taxes in a bid to reduce inequality and pay for their progressive agendas. The plans have generated fierce...
Sign In

Sign in to follow sources and tags you love, and get personalized stories.

Continue with Google
OR