Taxing the Poor: Doing Damage to the Truly Disadvantaged

By Katherine S. Newman; Rourke L. O’Brien | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION
Are We Our
Brothers’ Keepers?

When the West German state threw in its lot with its Eastern cousin, it embraced a common heritage. An enormous fiscal cost was shouldered in the name of that unity. And while some voices counseled against it, the unification of Germany was a longhoped-for dream for millions. Americans recognize the same kind of commitment to the people who inhabit the many regions of our country. We fought a civil war over the question of unity, and if there was any resolution to come out of it—as President Lincoln reminded his contemporaries in his most memorable speeches—it was that we are tied to one another in a bond that should never be broken.

In the modern era, our federal social policies are the material expression of that national solidarity. Federalism is more than a marriage of convenience that links California to Maryland or Maine to South Carolina. When tax dollars move to Washington and are released to Mississippi, we are attempting to ensure that all Americans have a fighting chance at a full and healthy life. That is what we are paying for.

-149-

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Taxing the Poor: Doing Damage to the Truly Disadvantaged
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Tables xv
  • Preface xvii
  • Acknowledgments xliii
  • Chapter One - The Evolution of Southern Tax Structures 1
  • Chapter Two - Barriers to Change Inertia, Supermajorities, and Constitutional Amendments 31
  • Chapter Three - The Geography of Poverty 57
  • Chapter Four - Tax Traps and Regional Poverty Regimes 86
  • Chapter Five - The Bottom Line 125
  • Conclusion - Are We Our Brothers’ Keepers? 149
  • Appendix I - How Many Lags of X? 163
  • Appendix II - Tables 175
  • Notes 183
  • Index 207
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