Taxing The Rich : A History Of Fiscal Fairness Essay

1444 Words Nov 27th, 2016 6 Pages
Kenneth Scheve and David Stasavage. 2016. Taxing the Rich: A History of Fiscal Fairness in the United States and Europe. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, USA. ISBN: 9780691165455, 288 pp., $29.95 (hardcover).
Reviewed by Paul Walker, West Virginia University

An incredibly relevant and much debated topic in the political realm is the question of how much of the tax burden should fall on the rich. This question has many important facets from what loopholes exist in the complex US tax system to arguments about top marginal rates and whether rates on various types of incomes and profits should be raised or lowered to the debates on how tax policy should be shaped to deal with the concerns about rising income inequality.

Much of this debate is centered around a historical framework that points to a previous era that was more egalitarian, when tax rates on the richest individuals were at some of their highest levels. However, these tax rates in the early 20th century were a relic of a specific political environment, that has since leading to the decline in top tax rates. With the topic of tax rates on the wealthy in fashion Kenneth Scheve and David Stasavage’s Taxing the Rich, explores that political environment and uses historical evidence to explore the background surrounding why governments taxed the rich in this period.

The book is structured in three sections, the first takes a look at the general arguments that have been made surrounding taxes. Specifically,…

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