Effects of Taxation: Investments by Individuals

By J. Keith Butters; Lynn L. Bollinger | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
Investment Capacity: II

IN THE preceding chapter we have at various points made some such statement as "the severe tax increases of the past 15 or 20 years must have substantially reduced the investment capacity of upper bracket individuals." The careful reader will have noted, probably impatiently, that we have phrased this conclusion in a very vague and indefinite manner without making any effort to reduce it to quantitative terms. There are two possible directions which the attempt to make the preceding discussion more precise could take. The first is to try to estimate the amount by which taxes have reduced the investment capacity of upper bracket individuals from what it would have been under some alternative revenue-expenditure structure. The second is to estimate the amount of investable funds which these individuals have been able to accumulate in postwar years despite the existing tax structure.

Even though the first alternative follows more directly from the discussion of the preceding chapter, we have chosen the second for detailed development because it is much more amenable to statistical analysis. Before proceeding with this analysis, however, it has seemed wise to outline briefly the difficulties which caused us to abandon the effort to measure the amount by which the tax increases of recent years have reduced the investment capacity of individuals.


PROBLEMS IN MEASURING EXTENT TO WHICH TAXES
HAVE REDUCED THE INVESTMENT CAPACITY OF
INDIVIDUALS

The first and most critical difficulty is conceptual. The problem can be meaningfully formulated only in relation to

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