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The Myth of Ownership : Taxes and Justice - Liam Murphy

The Myth of Ownership

Taxes and Justice

Paperback

Published: 1st January 2005
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In a capitalist economy, taxes are the most important instrument by which the political system puts into practice a conception of economic and distributive justice. Taxes arouse strong passions, fueled not only by conflicts of economic self-interest, but by conflicting ideas of fairness. Taking as a guiding principle the conventional nature of private property, Murphy and Nagel show how taxes can only be evaluated as part of the overall system of property rights that they help to create. Justice or injustice in taxation, they argue, can only mean justice or injustice in the system of property rights and entitlements that result from a particular regime. Taking up ethical issues about individual liberty, interpersonal obligation, and both collective and personal responsibility, Murphy and Nagel force us to reconsider how our tax policy shapes our system of property rights.

"The thoughts in this book deserve examination, especially the views of Nagel and Murphy on the self-interest each taxpayer reasonably has in the social justice purchased by hard-earned money....[They] offer ideas that would improve the national debate."--David Cay Johnston,New York Times Book Review "Murphy and Nagel claim that pretax income is a myth, and, as such, has no moral significance.... The Myth of Ownership significantly increases the sophistication of the discussion [fairness in taxation]."--Michigan Law Review Their research is impressive, their reasoning precise.... should be on every public economics reading list."--Journal of Economic Issues "Murphy and Nagel claim that pretax income is a myth, and, as such, has no moral significance.... The Myth of Ownership significantly increases the sophistication of the discussion [fairness in taxation]."--Michigan Law Review "The thoughts in this book deserve examination, especially the views of Nagel and Murphy on the self-interest each taxpayer reasonably has in the social justice purchased by hard-earned money....[They] offer ideas that would improve the national debate."--David Cay Johnston,New York Times Book Review "The Myth of Ownership...should be read by all who wish to enter the discussion regarding taxes."--William Michell Law Review "The authors very effectively argue that the taxation, such as the benefit and ability-to-pay principles, fall victim to a fatal defect. Justice in taxation cannot be assessed apart from a general theory of property rights."--The Mises Review "The best book by far on the political morality of taxation. In a clear and compelling analysis, Murphy and Nagel expose the mistake of thinking that individuals own their pretax income and they examine the social benefits of justifiable tax policy. Taking this book's message to heart would transform contemporary democratic politics."--Amy Gutmann, Provost and Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics, Princeton University "This magnificent contribution from the distinguished philosophers Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel reminds us that fundamental issues of justice lie at the core of often mundane debates about taxation. The provocative thesis of The Myth of Ownership that the tax system helps create, rather than conforms to, the overall system of property rights has profound policy implications. I highly recommend this engaging book and the rethinking of first principles it inspires to anyone interested in taxation and the role of government in society and the economy."--Joel Slemrod, Paul W. McCracken Collegiate Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, University of Michigan

Chapter 1. Introduction Chapter 2. Traditional Criteria of Tax Equity 1: Political Morality in Tax Policy: Fairness 2: Vertical Equity: The Distribution of Tax Burdens 3: The Benefit Principle 4: Ability to Pay: Endowment 5: Ability to Pay: Equal Sacrifice 6: Ability to Pay as an Egalitarian Idea 7: The Problem of Everyday Libertarianism 8: Horizontal Equity Chapter 3. Economic Justice ni Political Theory 1: Political Legitimacy 2: Consequentialism and Deontology 3: Public Goods 4: Benefits for Individuals 5: Efficiency and Utilitarianism 6: Distributive Justice, Fairness, and Priority to the Worst Off 7: Equality of Oppotunity 8: Legitamite Means and Individual Responsibility 9: Rewards and Punishments 10: Liberty and Libertarianism 11: The Moral Significance of the Market 12: Personal Motives and Political Values: The Moral Division of Labor 13: Conclusion Chapter 4. Redistribution and Public Provision 1: Efficiency and Judgement 2: Paying for Public Goods 3: Which Goods are Public? 4: Redistribution 5: Transfer or Provision? 6: Public Duties 7: Conclusion Chapter 5. The Tax Base 1: Efficiency and Justice 2: Outcomes, not Burdens 3: The Consumption Base and Fairness to Savers 4: Fairness as Equal Liberty 5: Desert and the Accumulation of Capital: The "Common Pool" 6: Wealth and Welfare 7: Wealth and Opportunity 8: Endowment and the Value of Autonomy 9: Exclusions and Credits 10: Transitions Chapter 6. Progressivity 1: Graduation, Progression, Incidence, and Outcomes 2: Assessment of Outcomes 3: Optimal Taxation 4: Tax Reform Chapter 7. Inheritance 1: The "Death Tax" 2: The Tax Base of the Donee 3: No Deduction for Donors 4: Details and Objections 5: Equal Opportunity and Transfer Taxation 6: Conclusion Chapter 8. Tax Discrimination 1: Justifying Differential Treatment 2: An Example: The Marriage Penalty 3: Incentive Effects and Arbitrariness Chapter 9. Conclusion: Politics 1: Theory and Practice 2: Justice and Self-Interest 3: Plausible Policies 4: Effective Moral Ideas Notes References Index

ISBN: 9780195176568
ISBN-10: 0195176561
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 228
Published: 1st January 2005
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.68 x 16.41  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.29