Skip to main content

View Diary: Adam Smith favored progressive taxation (60 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent Post (0+ / 0-)

    I couldn't agree with you more.  And I'd also point out that there is a great deal more in Smith's "Wealth of Nations" that should be read and understood by progressives and liberals.  I decided to read Smith's work last year and was astounded by how little it supported the modern conservative position and how much it supported modern liberalism.  For example, the end of Book I, he discusses the various segments of the economy, in particular noting those whose interests corresponded to the increase in the general welfare of society and those whose interests were opposed to the general welfare of society.  His conclusion was that the interest of those whose income depended upon the rent of land or wages for labor matched the general welfare of society and the prosperity of the nation, while those whose income depended upon the profits from stock ran in the opposite direction of those of the nation.  Hardly a position that the modern Republican party would embrace.

    I also think the issue of taxation is even more striking today than it was in Smith's day.  A great deal of the income of the wealthy depends directly upon services provided by the government.  Broadcast networks need the government to guarantee sole use of a frequency of the airwaves, businesses need to share risk with the community through incorporation, large segments of the economy require trademark and copyright protection and the financial sector most definitely needs the FBI white collar crime unit to keep their employees from mismanaging money.  Smith talks of taxation to fund the general needs of security, but there are now numerous services for which it would be perfectly fine to charge fees.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site