The American debate over taxes is ferocious and highly partisan. Some, mostly Republicans, reflexively oppose all taxes. Others, mostly Democrats, decry the lack of progressivity and fairness in the tax system and favour higher tax rates for the wealthy.
This debate isn’t new. The same arguments have been repeated, with the same passion, since our income tax system was created—first during the Civil War and then—after its initial rejection by the Supreme Court—following the ratification of the 16th Amendment in 1913. A wonderful book by Steven Weisman, The Great Tax Wars, brings this history to life.
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