Why We’ve Always Hated Taxes
We hate taxes today, and the world is the richest per capita that it’s ever been. Imagine how much we used to hate taxes.
Present day look at taxes:
Effective Tax Rates
[#by earning quintile]
Lowest Quintile: -4.5%
Second Quintile: -1%
Middle Quintile: 3.7%
Fourth Quintile: 6.2%
80-90th Percentile: 7.6%
90-95th Percentile: 9.3%
95-99th Percentile: 14%
Top 1 Percent: 24.6%
Top .1 Percent: 26.4%
(After deductions, credits, and exclusions)
5.3/10 Americans believe the taxes they pay are too high
Only 3/100 Americans believe they’re too low.
The middle class sees taxation as a threat to their dignity.
Also, that taxes benefit the rich and the poor.
Taxes freak us out:
6% more Americans die in car accidents on Tax Day
Car accident deaths over the last 30 tax days: 19,500
Car accidents on the same number of control days: 18,830
That’s similar to the increase in deaths due to drunk driving during the Super Bowl.
Back in the Day, Taxes Really Hurt
Time spent working
3 days on their Lord’s land.
3 days on their own land.
1 day off for Church.
= 50% effective tax on their time
Back through history…
Customs Taxes — 10% of animals and goods they carried that crossed the sea
Tax on cooking oil
Wartime Tax on everyone –> rescinded in peace time
Poll tax on foreigners without Athenian mother and father
1 drachma for men, half a drachma for women –>
Owed once a month.
In general: Import and Export Taxes
Caesar Augustus —
5% inheritance tax
4% tax on slaves
Julius Caesar —
1% sales tax
868-1066:Danegeld was a tax of two shillings for every 100-120 acres. Tribute so that raiding Danes would not attack.
1337-1453: 100 years war fueled and paid for by oppressive tax policies.
14th century: Progressive tax imposed. Duke of Lancaster taxed at 520 times more than a common peasant. Income tax on the wealthy, office holders, and clergy.
1640’s: Excise tax on essential commodities increased to where a lower class family of four would starve. common lands used for hunting enclosed and peasant hunting banned.
1800: Precursor of modern income tax created to finance war vs. Napoleon, but repealed in 1816.