Jefferson and the Progressive Tax

“The property of this country is absolutely concentred in a very few hands, having revenues of from half a million of guineas a year downwards… I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on.”

– Thomas Jefferson in a letter to James Madison

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=967

Even though this was written in 1785, this is especially relevant especially given the attempts by Bobby Jindal of Louisiana to reduce corporate and personal income taxes to 0% and implement a larger sales tax instead. Just think about the advantages for higher income earners and disadvantages for lower income earners … a Warren Buffet or Bill Gates most likely wouldn’t be able to consume an equivalent percentage of income to that of a lower income earner, thus the regressive tax. Additionally, much of our technology advancements, infrastructure  and research are publicly subsidized. Given that many of our wealthy such as Bill Gates gained most from utilizing these publicly subsidized technology, it should be that they are taxed a higher proportion that someone who hasn’t – and the same for corporations as well. These companies have gained from these publicly subsidized technologies, thus they should be paying their share into the system to create new technologies that can create new jobs for everyone. Jefferson knew this in 1785, it’s time we get back to this principal as a country and stop the war against government.

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