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Quotation of the Day…

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… is from page xx of Walter J. Blum’s and Harry Kalven, Jr.’s 1963 “Introduction” to the ten-year-anniversary re-issue of their 1953 classic and insightful book, The Uneasy Case for Progressive Taxation [2] (footnote omitted):

At the time of an emergency which brings about a tax increase, it appears that a sudden new burden can be more easily borne by the rich, thus suggesting that the tax system is made more progressive in the upper-income ranges.  When tax reduction is in the air, it appears that the less rich are more deserving of the reduction, thus suggesting that the system should not return to the tax pattern which prevailed before the increase brought on by the emergency.  It is almost as though tax reduction is viewed, not as the erasing of a prior tax burden, but as an independent distribution of a “bonus” by the government.  Neutrality in tax reduction … would in a simple fashion often require that higher-bracket taxpayers benefit from the tax cut substantially more than those in lower brackets.  But this symmetry is not likely to persuade the popular mind.

Indeed so.  Yet many “Progressives” today – perhaps most prominently Paul Krugman [3] – abandon the reality, if not the pretense, of scientific objectivity by fueling this popular passion, as identified by Blum and Kalven, to live ever-more-egregiously off of resources confiscated from “the rich.”

(By the way, the late, great John Chamberlain reviewed Blum’s and Kalven’s book [4] in the Spring 1954 issue of the University of Chicago Law Review.)