Quote of the Week

First, attitudes toward particular taxes become important components of party ideologies. By their nature, government levies affect nearly all citizens, many of whom understand neither the distributive implications of tax issues nor where the parties stand. Their uncertainty encourages parties to simplify vital but arcane tax choices by developing general orientations toward revenue policy. Political parties, then, adopt ideological positions on tax policy that correspond to the impact of the tax on their partisans. When in office, parties whose supporters bear heavier tax burdens seek to cut assessments or to displace the revenue load onto taxes with more favorable distributive properties. Parties whose supporters bear lighter loads, on the other hand, seek to defend or raise the assessment.

— John Mark Hansen, “Taxation and the Political Economy of the Tariff,” International Organization 44, 4 (1990), p. 534.

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