The Public Interest

Taxes, poverty, and equality

Irving Kristol

Fall 1974

It was not so long ago—in 1958, to be exact- that John Kenneth Galbraith could casually observe, in the course of analyzing The Affluent Society, that “few things are more evident in modem social history than the decline of interest in inequality as an economic issue.” Obviously, times have changed, though in what way or for what reason it is not at all clear.  The question of inequality is now widely regarded as an urgent one, especially in connection with our present system of taxation, which many hold responsible for a distribution of income deemed to be flagrantly unequal and hence inequitable. No one has a kind word to say for our tax structure; everyone appears utterly convinced that it is in a miserable condition and that drastic surgery is as necessary as it is desirable.

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