A brief history of tax, Part 2: Clash of the titans.

‘The tax code, once you get to know it, embodies all of the essence of life: greed, politics, power, goodness, charity. Everything’s in there.’ Sheldon Cohen, Former Commissioner of the US Internal Revenue Service.

Tax reform is back on the agenda. Since those who fail to study history risk repeating it (and I was involved in the latter-day history of tax reform) I’m writing this 3 part series as a guide for those involved in the next phase. Part 1 dealt with the dominant tax of the second half the 20th century – personal income tax. This part describes the intellectual and political contest between taxing income and consumption over the last four decades: a clash of tax titans.

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A brief history of tax: Part 1 Income tax, the great leveller.

‘The tax code, once you get to know it, embodies all of the essence of life: greed, politics, power, goodness, charity. Everything’s in there.’ Sheldon Cohen, Former Commissioner of the IRS.

Tax reform is back on the agenda. Since those who fail to study history risk repeating it (and I was involved in the latter-day history of tax reform) I’m writing this 3 part series as a guide for people who want to become involved in the next phase. I begin with a short history of the dominant tax of the second half the 20th century – personal income tax.

Continue reading