What is a good tax law?
Radicals are likely to apply three criteria to legislative handiwork. If, as economists in the days of the Old Welfare economics used to believe and socialists continue to believe, human beings are approximately equal in their rights and capacities to consume the good things of the earth, then a first standard is addressed to the measurement of inequality. Good tax laws diminish inequality and bad ones increase it. Hence, a genuinely progressive income tax (as distinguished from the current contraption) is an excellent thing, and still better are confiscatory inheritance levies.
That radical of his day, John Stuart Mill, was in 1848 proposing to tax away all inheritance estates save for small sums de...
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