The Constitution grants Congress the power 'to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises'. From the First Congress until today, conflicts over the size, role and taxing power of government have been at the heart of national politics. This book provides a comprehensive historical account of US tax policy that emphasizes the relationship between taxes and other budget components. It explains how wars, changing conceptions of the domestic role of government, and beliefs about deficits and debt have shaped the modern tax system. The contemporary focus of this book is the partisan battle over budget policy that began in the 1960s and triggered the disconnect between taxes and spending that has plagued the budget ever since. With the US government now facing its most serious deficit and debt challenge in the modern era, partisan debate over taxation is almost completely divorced from fiscal realities.
Dennis S. Ippolito is Eugene McElvaney Professor of Political Science at Southern Methodist University. Among his previous books are Why Budgets Matter: Budget Policy and American Politics, Uncertain Legacies: Federal Budget Policy from Roosevelt through Reagan, Hidden Spending: The Politics of Federal Credit Programs, Congressional Spending, and The Budget and National Politics. He was awarded the 2010 Aaron B. Wildavsky Award for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement in the Field of Public Budgeting and Finance.
1. A brief history of federal taxation; 2. The stable era - World War II to the 1960s; 3. Destabilizing tax policy - Vietnam and the 1970s; 4. The Reagan strategy - balancing low; 5. The Clinton strategy - balancing high; 6. Bush, Obama, and fiscal deadlock; 7. Reconnecting taxes and budgets.