Envisioning the Modern American Fiscal State: Progressive-Era Economists and the Intellectual Foundations of the U.S. Income Tax

INTRODUCTION At the turn of the twentieth century, the U.S. system of public finance underwent a dramatic, structural transformation. The late nineteenth-century system of indirect national taxes, associated mainly with the tariff and regressive excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco, was eclipsed in the early decades of the twentieth century by a graduated federal income tax that soon accounted for more than half of all federal tax revenues.[1] A similar,…
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