From the Department of Out-of-Context

June 16, 2009

Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) has released a new study Enhancing Texas’ Economic Growth through Tax Reform by Ardun, Laffer, & Moore Econometrics. On the bottom of page 4 the authors include this eloquent quotation from Henry George to illustrate the distortions associated with poor tax policy:

The mode of taxation is, in fact, quite as important as the amount. As a small burden badly placed may distress a horse that could carry with ease a much larger one properly adjusted, so a people may be impoverished and their power of producing wealth destroyed by taxation, which, if levied in any other way, could be borne with ease.

While the tax proposal Ardun, Laffer and TPPF are promoting may well be virtuous, the quotation is misplaced here. Henry George was a political economist who advocated a single tax on land, so it’s a bit odd to quote him in a paper subtitled, “Repealing the property tax and replacing the revenues with a revised sales tax.”


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