In view of the rather confused thinking in the U.S. Congress these days over how best to tax and for what reason, we found this video on the “Canons (or Principles) of Taxation.” The first four are those Adam Smith gave in The Wealth of Nations (1776), while the others were added later by other economists.
As a side comment, although we see the reason for it/them — in our opinion, the “Canon of Diversity” and “the Canon of Variety” are the slight restatements of the same principle — we disagree with it (or both, however you want to put it). In the Just Third Way we propose a single tax and rate on all personal income above a generous exemption to meet ordinary family needs adequately. Having many taxes levied in diverse or various ways simply to ensure that no one evades taxation virtually ensures that many people will be overtaxed as they get caught in the redundancy of the system.
On the other hand, we certainly agree with the “Canon of Uniformity,” which is that everyone is taxed the same way, and no group or individual is singled out for punitive or preferential treatment. The so-called “Billionaire Tax” is an attempt to treat one group punitively that has been treated preferentially. Both are unjust, and the Economic Democracy Act would resolve the problem equitably without injustice:
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