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date: 10 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay traces the long swings in the development of fiscal and tax regimes over the course of American history. The first was a republican swing that began during the colonial era and continued until the Civil War, producing tax systems that relied heavily on tariffs and property taxes. The second was a capitalist-state swing, creating much greater reliance on protective tariffs. This swing began during the Civil War, weakened during the early twentieth century, and continued until the financing of World War I began in 1916. A progressive swing, associated with the rise to fiscal dominance of the income tax, continued through the rest of the twentieth century but weakened significantly after 1945. Another swing began during the late 1970s and produced a “neoliberal” or “retroliberal” regime in the first decade of the twenty-first century.

Keywords: capitalist-state, fiscal regime, income tax, neoliberal, progressive, republican, retroliberal, tax regime

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