Blogs > Liberty and Power > The Forgotten Tax Revolt of the 1930s (My Wall Street Journal Op-ed)

Apr 15, 2011 12:53 am

The Forgotten Tax Revolt of the 1930s (My Wall Street Journal Op-ed)

My op-ed on the depression-era tax revolt just appeared in the Wall Sreet Journal:

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.

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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!