The Forgotten Tax Revolt of the 1930s (My Wall Street Journal Op-ed)
Many historians depict the Great Depression as a turning point when bitter economic realities finally led the middle class to break from laissez-faire tradition and demand bigger government. This is not entirely untrue, but it's only part of what happened.
In its initial phase, the Depression also spawned a powerful movement for smaller government that included tax revolts. These revolts were not only more widespread but often more extreme than any sponsored by the tea party.
Depression-era taxpayers had perhaps even greater reason to be angry than their modern counterparts. Property values plummeted after 1929 but tax reassessments lagged. Overall, taxes nearly doubled to 21.1% of national income in 1932 from 11.6% in 1929, according to a 1940 Tax Policy Institute report.
comments powered by Disqus
Robert Higgs - 4/15/2011
Excellent placement, David. I'm betting that many of those who will read your article had never heard of the tax revolts of the 1930s.
Mark Brady - 4/15/2011
Even if it is in the War Street Journal!
- Did a historian who said he’s a victim of McCarthyism get the story wrong?
- Stephanie Coontz’s work on the history of marriage cited by the Supreme Court.
- How Does It Feel To Have One’s Work as a Historian Cited by the Supreme Court? Cool. Very Cool. Thank You Very Much.
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- David Hackett Fischer wins $100,000 prize for lifetime achievement in military writing