Direct Taxation: We Have Come a Long Way

As you can probably tell, I find the historical stuff very interesting. But I know that most people don’t share this sentiment, so I will get back to my tax relief posts soon (after this one).

It is evident from the state of the country, from the habits of the people, from the experience we have had on the point itself, that it is impracticable to raise any very considerable sums by direct taxation. Tax laws have in vain been multiplied; new methods to enforce the collection have in vain been tried; the public expectation has been uniformly disappointed, and the treasuries of the States have remained empty. The popular system of administration inherent in the nature of popular government, coinciding with the real scarcity of money incident to a languid and mutilated state of trade, has hitherto defeated every experiment for extensive collections, and has at length taught the different legislatures the folly of attempting them.

27 November 1787
Federalist No. 12: The Utility of the Union In Respect to Revenue
Alexander Hamilton

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