Tax Policy for Post-Liberal Society: a Flat-Tax-Inspired Redefinition of the Purpose and Ideal Structure of a Progressive Income Tax
Charles R.T. O'Kelley
Adolf A. Berle, Jr. Center on Corporations, Law and Society, Seattle University School of Law; M.E. Kilpatrick Chair of Corporate Finance and Securities Law Emeritus, University of Georgia School of Law
March 1, 1985
Southern California Law Review, Vol. 58, No. 3, pp. 727-776, 1985
A flat rate comprehensive federal income tax could be achieved by replacing graduated rates with a single rate that applies to all taxpayers, eliminating many currently available deductions and credits, and treating as taxable income types of economic gain presently excluded from the tax base. The fact that Congress is seriously considering such radical changes makes it appropriate for tax scholars to reconsider longheld beliefs about the ideal structure of an income tax. This Article analyzes the characteristics and underlying rationale of a progressive flat rate comprehensive income tax and reconsiders the nature and purpose of a progressive income tax.
Part I of this Article describes how adopting a flat rate comprehensive income tax that uses a personal exemption could result in tax burdens substantially more progressive than occur under the current system. Part II explores the nature of individual entitlement to income in our post-liberal society and the purpose of the income tax. In addition, Part II presents an argument for a personal exemption equal in amount to the minimum wage. Part III examines the proper role of shared living arrangements in determining tax liability and concludes that a flat rate comprehensive income tax, properly designed and understood, produces appropriate tax burdens for both married and unmarried individuals. Part IV develops a case for integration of the income tax and the social security system, which builds on the argument for linking the personal exemption to the minimum wage.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 50
Keywords: Post-Liberal, Income Tax, Tax Policy, Flat Tax, Progressive Income Tax, Comprehensive Income Tax, Social Security, Minimum Wage, Parenting, Imputed Income, Flat Tax, Comprehensive, Personal Exemption, Redistribution, Unearned Income, Taxable Unit, Horizonatl equity, vertical equity, spousesAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 6, 2010 ; Last revised: April 6, 2010
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