The Permanent Tax Revolt: How the Property Tax Transformed American Politics

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-03-05
  • Publisher: Stanford Univ Pr
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Tax cuts are such a pervasive feature of the American political landscape that the political establishment rarely questions them. Since 2001, Congress has abolished the tax on inherited wealth and passed a major income tax cut every year, including two of the three largest income tax cuts in American history despite a long drawn-out war and massive budget deficits.The Permanent Tax Revolttraces the origins of this anti-tax campaign to the 1970s, in particular, to the influence of grassroots tax rebellions as homeowners across the United States rallied to protest their local property taxes. Isaac William Martin advances the provocative new argument that the property tax revolt was not a conservative backlash against big government, but instead a defensive movement for government protection from the market. The tax privilege that the tax rebels were defending was in fact one of the largest government social programs in the postwar era. While the movement to defend homeowners' tax breaks drew much of its inspirationand many of its early leadersfrom the progressive movement for welfare rights, politicians on both sides of the aisle quickly learned that supporting big tax cuts was good politics In time, American political institutions and the strategic choices made by the protesters ultimately channeled the movement toward the kind of tax relief favored by the political right, with dramatic consequences for American politics today.

Author Biography

Isaac William Martin is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego.

Table of Contents

Introducing the Tax Revoltp. 1
A Seedbed of Taxpayer Revolt: The Modernization of the American Property Taxp. 25
The Outbreak of a Tax Protest Movementp. 50
The Two Faces of Federalismp. 74
A New Ball Game: How the Tax Revolt Turned Rightp. 98
Welcome to the Tax Cutting Party: How the Tax Revolt Transformed Republican Politicsp. 126
American Exceptionalism Reconsideredp. 146
Epilogue: Lessons of the Tax Revoltp. 166
How Great Was the Tax Privilege of Fractional Assessment?p. 175
Was Proposition 13 Really a Turning Point?p. 181
How Did Tax Limitation Policies Affect the Politics of Taxation?p. 185
Archival Sources and Their Abbreviationsp. 189
Notesp. 191
Indexp. 239
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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