(see also Anti-Tax Movement)
Taxes are not only inevitable; they are necessary & even desirable, because they make possible the provision by government of the services a properly functioning civil society requires. The national income tax in the US was established in 1862, declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1896, & restored by the 16th Amendment in 1913. The object of tax reform, therefore, should not be to eliminate income taxes but to levy them fairly. The ideal of a universal progressive income taxation, aimed at ensuring a measure of equality and a "buy-in" for all citizens to the fiscal policies of the government, has been eroded since the mid-20th c. by a series of efforts to exempt both the wealthy and the poor from federal & state levies. Regressive sales taxes at the state & local level, in the meantime, have shifted the tax burden onto those least able to pay.
Progressive Income Taxes Equalize the Pain. Rockridge Institute (2/17/05).
The Income Tax's Progressive Roots. Jonathan Rowe, EMagazine (3-4/99).
Sharing the Wealth: If We Shift the Tax Burden from Work to Waste, Everyone Benefits. Brian Dunkiel, M. Jeff Hamond & Jim Motavalli, EMagazine (3-4/99).
Tobin Tax (description).
On the Web: Specialized Sites
Citizens for Tax Justice. Advocates return to rational taxation policies.
Runciman, David. "Tax breaks for rich murderers," London Review (6/2/05):3-6. Review essay on Graetz & Shapiro, Death By a Thousand Cuts. Examines right-wing success in framing US national discussion on "death tax."
Wilson, Glynn. "Alabama vote roils alliances & stirs moral quandaries," Christian Science Monitor (9/8/03):3.
In the Library: Non-Fiction Books
Adams, Charles. Those Dirty Rotten Taxes: The Tax Revolts that Built America (NY: Free Press, 1998).
Buenker, John D. The Income Tax & the Progressive Era (NY: Garland, 1985).
Cataldo, Anthony J. II & Arline A. Savage (eds.) US Individual Federal Income Taxation: Historical, Contemporary & Prospective Policy Issues (NY: JAI, 2001).
Ferleger, Lou & Jay R. Mandle. No Pain, No Gain: Taxes, Productivity, & Economic Growth (NY: 20th Century Fund, 1992).
Graetz, Michael & Ian Shapiro. Death By a Thousand Cuts: The Fight Over Taxing Inherited Wealth (Princeton NJ: Princeton, 2005).
Hamill, Susan Pace. An Argument for Tax Reform Based on Judeo-Christian Ethics (Birmingham AL: Cliff Road, 2002). Basis for conservative Republican governor's effort to raise taxes in face of Alabama's fiscal crisis.
Johnston, David Cay. Perfectly Legal: The Secret Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich -- & Cheat Everybody Else (NY: Penguin, 2004).
Joseph, Richard J. The Origins of the American Income Tax: The Revenue Act of 1894 & Its Aftermath (Syracuse NY: Syracuse U., 2004).
King, Ronald F. Money, Time, & Politics: Investment Tax Subsidies & American Democracy (New haven: Yale, 1993).
Musgrave, Richard Abel. Strengthening the Progressive Income Tax: The Responsible Answer to America's Budget Problem (Washington: Economic Policy Institute, 1989).
Pollack, Sheldon David. Refinancing America: The Republican Anti-Tax Agenda (Albany: SUNY, 2003).
Roberts, Philip J. A Penny for the Governor, a Dollar for Uncle Sam: Income Taxation in Washington (Seattle: U. of Washington, 2002).
Stanley, Robert. Dimensions of Law in the Service of Order: Origins of the Federal Income Tax, 1861-1913 (NY: Oxford, 1993).
Weisman, Steven R. The Great Tax Wars: Lincoln to Wilson, the Fierce Battles over Money & Power that Transformed the Nation (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2002).
Willan, Robert M. Income Taxes: Concise History & Primer (Baton Rouge LA: Claitor's, 1994).
Zepezauer, Mark. Take the Rich Off Welfare  (Boston: South End, 2004).