Comment on Mccready and Maloney on Wealth Taxation
Canadian Public Administration, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 542-548, Winter 1992
7 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2011
Date Written: July 7, 2011
The line between normative and positive economic analysis is, supposedly, a sharp one. The former allows for value judgments, the latter does not. This distinction is mentioned in all basic texts in our profession, and in all introductory courses. Then, all too often, such as in the present cases, it is promptly forgotten. The profession of economics, in the main, pays lip service to this bifurcation, but when push comes to shove, and the heat of ideological battle warms up, it is jettisoned. In this comment, I shall take issue with both Professor McCready (“The Case against Wealth Taxation”) and Dean Maloney (“The Case Against Wealth Taxation: A Reply”), which is, in effect, an attempt to make the case for wealth taxation. My point is not to claim that value-free economics can be adduced in support of either of these positions, the view taken by both McCready and Maloney, respectively, on opposite sides of this issue; rather, I shall attempt to show that as far as positive science is concerned, neither perspective can be successfully defended.
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