The Rhetoric of the Anti-Progressive Income Tax Movement: A Typical Male Reaction

This article examines the arguments against progressivity and the supporting philosophic premises behind the mask of rhetoric. It neither treats exhaustively nor demolishes the legitimacy of the arguments or the underlying philosophy. Part I briefly summarizes the major arguments against progressivity. Part II examines the economic argument, its underlying assumptions, and its limitations. Part III examines the neoconservative philosophy which underlies the justification for a flat tax and contrasts it with an alternative feminist vision of people and society, which provides strong justification for progressive taxation.

Part IV concludes that there is a strong case for progressive taxation based not only on the feminist view of humanity but also on the Neo view. The conflict between these philosophies, which seems to require making a choice between a flat and a progressive tax is more illusory than we believe. To the extent that it is real, the choice of either one will be unsatisfactory to some people. We should choose progressivity, which better comports with modern society, and does relatively little violence to the Neo view because it places minimal restrictions on the individual’s actions and property.