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Governing AmericaThe Revival of Political History$
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Julian E. Zelizer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150734

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150734.001.0001

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The Uneasy Relationship: Democracy, Taxation, and State-Building Since the New Deal

The Uneasy Relationship: Democracy, Taxation, and State-Building Since the New Deal

(p.107) Six The Uneasy Relationship: Democracy, Taxation, and State-Building Since the New Deal
Governing America

Julian E. Zelizer

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores the relationships between democracy, taxation, and state-building in the post-New Deal period. It discusses the tension that has existed between state-building and national resistance to federal taxation and how democracy has come to be at odds with state-building as it comes into conflict with strong anti-tax sentiment. It considers how politicians have struggled to find ways to work around the limitations imposed by the urgency of raising revenue and shows that fiscal restraint has not been an insurmountable barrier. In particular, it examines the emergence of mass income taxes and social-insurance tax systems as well as the substantial state presence achieved in all areas of life, including social welfare and highway construction. The chapter explains how the history of taxation offers insights into the areas in which public policy, institutional development, and political culture intersected.

Keywords:   democracy, taxation, state-building, income taxes, social insurance, social welfare, highway construction, policy, institutional development, political culture

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