Adam Smith on higher tax rates for the wealthy

Arch-capitalist Adam Smith:

The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.

An Inquiry into the Nature And Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). Book Five: Of the Revenue of the Sovereign or Commonwealth. Chapter II: Of the Sources of the General or Public Revenue of the Society. Article I: Taxes upon the Rent of House.

Author: Father Silouan Thompson

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