Postwar Taxation and Economic Progress

By Harold M. Groves | Go to book overview

taxes would suffer from the resultant confusion of the tax- payer. Buehler suggests that these difficulties could be overcome by combining the normal and surtaxes into one schedule and dropping the earned-income credit of the income tax.1 The latter change has recently been made and the former is desirable, but they should be accepted as an improvement to the income tax and not as a means of easing a new complication into it. Taxes based on personal reporting depend upon cooperation of the citizenry, and this addition might prove to be the "straw that breaks the camel's back." Unless the public cooperated fully in complete and honest reporting of disposable funds and deductions, the tax would fail hopelessly.

In the type of high-consumption economy anticipated after the war, checks on spending, except on that of a highly extravagant sort, seem inappropriate. Nevertheless, if administrative problems could be solved, there might be a place for an over-all spendings tax with a high (perhaps $5000) exemption.


CONCLUS1ON

Federal consumption taxes, in general, were tolerable during the past century when capital was at a premium and the citizen was not very conscious of his responsibilities to government. They are less appropriate today and will become still less appropriate as time goes on.

____________________
1
A. G. Buehler, "Taxing Consumer Spending," Bulletin of the National Tax Association, Vol. 28, No. 4 ( January, 1943).

-295-

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