April 15th – Taxes, Debate & Jefferson


Our nation’s independence came in large part from the debate over taxes.

A debate is the give-and-take of information and opinion. I encourage you to be involved and to fly your colors … but in all things be civil, be honest in making your argument and please follow the golden rule.

Some of Thomas Jefferson’s thoughts on taxes:

Being human, Jefferson could contradict himself or pose a situation that embraced the laws of unintended consequences. Can you find any of those in the quotes below?

“Many of the opposition [to the new Federal Constitution] wish to take from Congress the power of internal taxation.  Calculation has convinced me that this would be very mischievous.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Carmichael, 1788.

“Taxes should be proportioned to what may be annually spared by the individual.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1784.

“Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1785.

“Taxes on consumption, like those on capital or income, to be just, must be uniform.” –Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Smith, 1823.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “April 15th – Taxes, Debate & Jefferson

  1. George S. Harris

    Mos t Americans talk about the ” Tax Rate” they are in. But lo and behold–most often they are talking about the “Marginal Tax Rate”–the rate at which the last dollar they earned was taxed at–not the rate they were taxed at for all their earnings. Most of us are taxed at several rates and finally some of what we earn is at some marginal rate. Mine, for example is 25%, but my EFFECTIVE rate is 14%. Duh! We want lots of services but we are unwilling to pay for them. Go to one of the Scandanavian countries– the true tax rate is around 50%–but they get so much for “free”.

    • George — your points are well taken. The same can be said for the corporate tax rate. Lots of critics like to point out how many countries are lower — but they have VAT taxes. When we include in the many possible writeoffs most American companies pay less taxes than their international counterparts.

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