The essay, The Inequity of the Progressive Income Tax, has been thoroughly vetted. No fewer than 17 scholars from the fields of economics, law, political and social science, and philosophy, have read and commented on the piece. I am indebted to all of them for taking their valuable time, not only to read the drafts (in some cases, more than one), but to provide very thoughtful and constructive suggestions for improvement (not all of these scholars agree with my thesis, which made the collection of remarks all the more useful). Because of them, the essay is infinitely better than it was when I first sent it out for review.
I am most indebted to Professor James Q. Wilson (former Professor of political science at Harvard University, UCLA Anderson School of Management, and Pepperdine University; and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom), a close personal friend and, in the opinion of many, a national treasure in the field of political and social science. Professor Wilson was the original inspiration for this effort. A few years back, he read the “Class Wars” parable that leads off the essay and told me he thought that if I expanded it into a paper that presented all of the intellectual arguments both for and against progression, the product of this effort might make an useful contribution to the literature on the topic. This essay is a direct result of his inspiration and continuous encouragement throughout the almost three years it took to research and write it.
Other scholars to whom I am indebted are (in alphabetical order): Michael Boskin, PhD, Professor of Economics at Stanford University, Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, and former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors; Arthur Brooks, PhD, President and CEO of the American Enterprise Institute and former Professor of Business and Public Policy in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University; Tom Campbell, PhD (economics)/J.D., Dean of the Chapman University School of Law, former Dean of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, and former Professor of Law and Economics at Stanford University Law School; Barbara Fried, J.D., Professor of Law at Stanford University Law School; Francisco (Paco) Gil-Diaz, PhD (economics), CEO Telefonica, Mexico and Central America, Professor of Economics at ETAM, and former Secretary of Finance of Mexico; Arnold Harberger, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Economics at UCLA; William Klein, LL.B., Professor of Law (emeritus) at UCLA Law School; Robert Klitgaard, PhD (economics), University Professor at Claremont Graduate University (CGU), former President of CGU and former Dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School of Public Policy; Arthur Laffer, PhD, Chairman, Laffer Associates an economic consulting firm, and formerly Distinguished Professor of Economics at Pepperdine University and member of Pepperdine’s Board of Directors; Edward Leamer, PhD, Professor of Economics and Statistics at UCLA Anderson School of Management and Director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast; Richard Rahn, PhD, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, former Chief Economist of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the economics columnist for the Washington Times; Richard Roll, PhD, Professor of Finance and Economics at UCLA Anderson School of Management and Director of the Fink Center for Finance and Investment at Anderson; William Talbott, PhD, Professor of Philosophy at University of Washington; Charles Wolf, PhD, Senior Economist, RAND Corporation and former Dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School of Public Policy; Eric Zolt, JD/CPA, Professor of Law at UCLA Law School; and Edwin Zschau, PhD, Professor at Princeton School of Engineering, former Professor of Business at Harvard Business School and former member of Congress.
I am particularly grateful to: Tom Campbell, Barbara Fried, Robert Klitgaard, Richard Rahn, William Talbott, and Ed Zschau who went the extra mile to help me get the nuances of the subject matter exactly right; to Ed Leamer and Charles Wolf for co-hosting a stimulating and highly productive academic seminar on the essay; and to Richard Rahn and Charles Wolf, for their always constructive comments, many words of encouragement, and help in getting the essay noticed.
Last, but by no means least, I am grateful to Tod Lindberg, Editor of Policy Review, and himself a scholar, who not only agreed to publish the paper, but who improved it significantly in the editing process.