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Argument: Progressive taxes cause class warfare to pass tax burden

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Supporting quotations

Edwin R. A. Seligman. "Progressive taxation in theory and practice". American Economic Association. 1894 - A Psychology of Depredation

Instead of fostering brotherhood, then, the progressive income tax introduces a psychology of depredation into society. Pressure groups everywhere go for their share of the spoils. The arid states want big dams-at the expense, not of willing investors, but of the common people who have chosen to stay in greener, though more densely populated, New Jersey and Connecticut. Everyone has his pet scheme for spending other people’s money, and empires grow in Washington as the politicos cater to the schemers. As money income is taxed away, there is a tremendous competition to get income in terms of social services (untaxed). The state is called upon to provide more money for schools, medical services, pensions, what-not. Producers, who have their own corporate income taxes to worry about, struggle for special tax write-offs; every different productive group, from agriculture to labor, wants exemptions. The result is an intense materialism which is rendered all the more ugly because it puts guns into the hands of any group which thinks it has a chance of transforming a minority into a majority by the mere offer of a trade in votes.

The depredation psychology has its reflex within voluntary associations which are compelled to sly expedients in order to retain assets, earning capacity, or mere utility. Businesses are diverted from thinking about productivity; decisions are often made with a primary eye to “tax advantage.”

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