IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Negative effects of US taxation


  • Javier Portillo
  • Walter E. Block


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to criticize the current US tax system and explain in what ways taxation harms the economy. Taxes are coercive. Taxpayers are forced to pay individual income taxes. If the taxpayer refuses, several adverse consequences will unfold against him even including jail-time. Taxes diminish taxpayer's disposable income and leave consumer's wants unattended. The money they could have used to fulfil their wants goes instead to the government in the form of taxes. Design/methodology/approach - Taxation is analyzed from an economic point of view. Findings - Progressive taxation is harmful to the economy because it punishes successful individuals. The more they earn (a reflection of the productive value they bring to the market), the more they have to pay. Meanwhile less productive citizens paying little or no tax are receiving “benefits” derived from the investment of more successful taxpayers. These are inefficient since they reduce incentives. Taking money from Peter and giving it to Paul decreases the incentive, both have to earn an income and be productive. Finally, the paper exposes the influence government has over taxpayer's decisions. Originality/value - We live at a time in the US when President Obama is calling for greater taxation for the rich, and the Republicans are rejecting this initiative on the ground that it is “class war.” A study of taxation at this point cannot help but shed light on this controversy.

Suggested Citation

  • Javier Portillo & Walter E. Block, 2012. "Negative effects of US taxation," Studies in Economics and Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 29(2), pages 76-88, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:sefpps:v:29:y:2012:i:2:p:76-88

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Henry G. Manne, 1965. "Mergers and the Market for Corporate Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73, pages 110-110.
    2. Browning, Edgar K, 1987. "On the Marginal Welfare Cost of Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 11-23, March.
    3. Martin Feldstein, 1978. "The Welfare Cost of Capital Income Taxation," NBER Chapters,in: Research in Taxation, pages 29-51 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Feldstein, Martin, 1976. "On the theory of tax reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 77-104.
    5. Mirrlees, J. A., 1976. "Optimal tax theory : A synthesis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 327-358, November.
    6. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    7. Henry G. Manne, 1965. "Mergers and the Market for Corporate Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73, pages 351-351.
    8. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production II: Tax Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 261-278, June.
    9. Feldstein, Martin, 1973. "On the optimal progressivity of the income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 357-376.
    10. Browning, Edgar K, 1981. "A Theory of Paternalistic In-Kind Transfers," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 19(4), pages 579-597, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:sefpps:v:29:y:2012:i:2:p:76-88. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Virginia Chapman). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.