Guess which radical leftist said that people ought to contribute according to their ability to pay?

"The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state."

Here's another, in which he proposes a progressive, rather than a flat tax.

"The rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion"

Here's a really radical statement about taxation.

"Every tax, however, is, to the person who pays it, a badge, not of slavery, but of liberty."

Here's a quote from the same thinker on the benefits of retaliatory tariffs.

"The recovery of a great foreign market will generally more than compensate the transitory inconvenience of paying dearer during a short time for some sorts of goods."

That radical leftist was Adam Smith, the founder of capitalist theory, writing in his book "The Wealth of Nations". That these statements seem so out of line with what we are told capitalism is all about is very telling. Reagan threw out all of the economic theory of the prior 200 years and replaced it with his own supply side theory. Before Reagan, these statements would not have seemed so bizarre at all. This tells us that Reagonomics is not capitalism at all, but some other system. The right has tried to rewrite Adam Smith as a supply sider, anti-tax thinker. One way to make radical changes look reasonable is to rewrite the past, as the right has attempted to do. They are counting on people not reading Adam Smith for themselves.  It's a strange world where Adam Smith looks like an extreme leftist, maybe it's time to throw away neo-capitalism, and take a look at paleocaptialism.

Originally posted to A Citizen on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 01:35 PM PST.

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