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100 Million Unnecessary ReturnsA Simple, Fair, and Competitive Tax Plan for the United States$
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Michael J. Graetz

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780300122749

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300122749.001.0001

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Shrink the Income Tax

Shrink the Income Tax

(p.84) VI Shrink the Income Tax
100 Million Unnecessary Returns

Michael J. Graetz

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the need to reduce the income tax in the United States. The income tax was adopted—with the extraordinary public support necessary to amend the U.S. constitution—to fund a reduction in tariffs and to counterbalance the effect of those taxes on consumption with a tax more closely linked to the people's ability to pay. When first enacted, it was expected to contribute to only a small portion of ordinary government revenues and to supplement other revenue sources in times of emergency. The chapter argues that the imposition of the income tax on nearly the entire population has led to perverse results in terms of complexity and congressional policymaking. It suggests that the income tax should focus on its original, manageable purpose: to collect tax only from high-income earners, who tend to have multiple income sources.

Keywords:   income tax, U.S. constitution, tariffs, revenues, policymaking, high-income earners

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