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A Tax Crit Identity Crisis? Or Tax Expenditure Analysis, Deconstruction, and the Rethinking of a Collective Identity


Anthony C. Infanti


University of Pittsburgh - School of Law

July 21, 2004


Abstract:     
Critical tax theory, much like its non-tax critical counterparts, has been consistently marginalized by mainstream tax academics. To date, tax crits have accepted and acquiesced in this marginalization. In this article, I question the idea that tax crits are outsiders as well as the notion that critical tax theory is a marginal form of tax policy literature. My primary purpose in questioning this conventional wisdom is to get tax crits to think critically about the collective identity of the critical tax movement.

I question the outsider status of critical tax theory by essentially turning the mainstream into the marginal (or the marginal into the mainstream, depending upon your perspective). I accomplish this by reconceptualizing a quite mainstream tax concept - tax expenditure analysis - as an application of critical (and, more particularly, deconstructionist) techniques to the Internal Revenue Code. Once the mainstream (i.e., tax expenditure analysis) has been recast as the marginal (i.e., deconstructionist analysis), the distinction between the two essentially deconstructs itself, calling into question the justification for attaching significant weight to the distinction between the mainstream and the marginal. This opens the way for tax crits to think critically about their marginality and what role it should play in the collective identity of the critical tax movement.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 83

Keywords: Tax expenditure, deconstruction, gay, lesbian, same-sex marriage, critical tax theory

JEL Classification: K34

working papers series


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Date posted: July 25, 2004  

Suggested Citation

Infanti, Anthony C., A Tax Crit Identity Crisis? Or Tax Expenditure Analysis, Deconstruction, and the Rethinking of a Collective Identity (July 21, 2004). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=567422 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.567422

Contact Information

Anthony C. Infanti (Contact Author)
University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )
3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-1244 (Phone)
412-648-2648 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.pitt.edu/infanti

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