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Patriotism and Taxation: The Tax Compliance Implications of the Tea Party Movement

54 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2010 Last revised: 22 Apr 2012

Richard Lavoie

University of Akron - School of Law

Date Written: August 2, 2010


This article considers the factors that contribute to developing a self-sustaining taxpaying ethos in a society, with a focus on understanding those factors using a social contract framework. Given the rise of the Tea Party movement, which carries on the historical linkage between patriotism and tax protests in the United States, the role of patriotism as a general tax compliance factor is examined in light of the extant empirical evidence. The existing research suggests that patriotism may be a weaker tax compliance factor in the United States than elsewhere. In light of this possibility, the Tea Party movement has the potential to weaken this factor even more. Further, the Tea Party movement presents other challenges for the legitimacy of the tax system that could ultimately unbalance the taxpaying ethos in the United States. In order to strengthen the impact of patriotism on tax compliance, and lessen any adverse impact of the Tea Party movement on the country’s taxpaying ethos, the government should take steps to disentangle American patriotism from its anti-tax roots. Important first steps in this regard are outlined in the article, including the creation of a voluntary “Patriotic Remittance Tax”. Making such changes will strengthen the bond between taxpayers and the government and help promote a vision of American patriotism that is positively associated with taxation rather than being antithetical to it.

Keywords: taxes, taxpayer, ethos in a society, social contract, social contract framework, Tea Party movement, patriotism, tax protest, tax compliance factor, Patriotic Remittance Tax

JEL Classification: K10, K34

Suggested Citation

Lavoie, Richard, Patriotism and Taxation: The Tax Compliance Implications of the Tea Party Movement (August 2, 2010). Loyola Law Review, New Orleans, Vol. 45, p. 279, 2012; U of Akron Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-09. Available at SSRN:

Richard Lavoie (Contact Author)

University of Akron - School of Law ( email )

150 University Ave.
Akron, OH 44325-2901
United States

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