Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Johnson: The Founding Fathers Believed In A Wealth Tax

The Hill op-ed:  The Founding Fathers Believed in a Wealth Tax, by Calvin Johnson (Texas):

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has proposed a tax on wealth. It would be constitutional. Opponents claim a wealth tax is unconstitutional because it is a direct tax that must be apportioned among the states by population.

Apportionment by state for a wealth tax is a fatal requirement. Tax rates on wealth of Mississippi residents would have to be twice as high as tax rates on Connecticut residents because Connecticut citizens have twice the wealth of Mississippi residents.

The result is forced because Mississippi has too small of a tax base over which to spread its quota. The opponents of a wealth tax cackle at the absurdity, but it is not what the Founding Fathers intended. ...

The Founders believed in the wealth tax. The core of the colonial taxes were taxes on real estate. Apportionment was designed to reach wealth by taxing states according to relative wealth by the best measurement of wealth that they had available.

To turn a requirement reaching wealth into a rule exempting wealth from tax is to turn the Founders’ meaning upside down.

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And Calvin probably remembers them (as do I)!

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Feb 13, 2019 4:33:01 AM