We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much. — Ronald Reagan
What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue. — Thomas Paine
When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income. — Plato
[To win the battle of democracy] in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable:
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c. — Marx and Engels, Communist Manifesto
The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion. — Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations
It was Marxian socialism—“From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”—which fathered the great attack on proportional tax equity: a “heavy graduated income tax” is a salient feature of the Communist Manifesto of 1848. But the Marxians would have made little headway if non-Marxian economists had not come unwittingly to their support with the theory that “it is not equal to treat unequals equally.” In cases of charity, this is undoubtedly true, but no comprehensive legal system can be reared on a rule which begins by regarding everybody as an exception. — John Chamberlain
At the end of section two of Marx’s Communist Manifesto, in addition to calling for the abolition of private property and the centralization of the means of production in the hands of the state, he petitioned for “a heavy progressive or graduated income tax.”
This is based on the Marxist dictum (that many Americans think appears in the Constitution): “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” and on Marx’s mistaken notion of the result of the inequality of wealth, as we see in his Das Kapital: “In proportion as capital accumulates, the lot of the labourer, be his payment high or low, must grow worse…. Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation at the opposite pole.”
Yet, from its very beginning, the U.S. tax code has sought to soak “the rich” with “a heavy progressive or graduated income tax.”
. . . But the emphasis placed by some conservatives on the lack of taxes paid by some Americans is getting the whole issue backward. The solution is not a national sales tax or flat tax that forces all Americans to pay some arbitrary “fair share” and actually perpetuates the progressivity of the tax code. And neither is it to eliminate all the deductions and credits in order to punish those with low incomes by increasing their taxes.
The solution is to decrease the tax burden of those who are paying the taxes now by eliminating the income tax altogether. — Laurence M. Vance, “Our Marxist Tax Code”