Postwar Taxation and Economic Progress

By Harold M. Groves | Go to book overview

of age and sex), with no variations for the size of employees' earnings or for differences in industrial risk. A single payment was to cover all the social security obligation of the contributor. Even "workmen's compensation" for accidents was merged in the single program.

The Beveridge Plan thus aimed at a social security system achieved by cooperation between the state and the individual. Cooperation with industry was scarcely mentioned, and the implication was that industry and social security have no responsibilities toward each other. It has been suggested that the plan views social security "as the outgrowth or modern counterpart of the Elizabethan poor law, better administered and far more humane, but equally divorced from the going economic system."1 The plan is laudable in its aim at a wide coverage and high standards of social security but, particularly for our own country with its widely varying conditions, a more pragmatic approach with more regard for incentives seems preferable.

Conclusion . The experience-rating feature of pay roll taxes levied for unemployment compensation provides a desirable incentive for stabilization of employment. It is also a desirable means of distributing a social cost in a manner most conducive to the effective functioning of the economic system. It should not be eliminated by either state or federal action.


CONCLUSION

In general, incentive taxation "gadgets" are not very promising means to achieve the goals of greater employment, production, investment, and consumption. Most of these schemes* involve hazards of deliberate discrimination among economic factors or units; they often offer favors to one desirable activity at the expense of another; they do not go to the root of economic ills; and they ignore the necessity of a favor-

____________________
1
Elizabeth Brandeis, "What Road Is Forward in Social Security?" Problems of the Postwar World, a symposium edited by Thomas C. T. McCormick, McGrawHill Book Company, Inc., 1945, pp. 49-84 at p. 60.

-325-

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