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The Culture of Contentment$
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John Kenneth Galbraith

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691171654

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691171654.001.0001

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Taxation and the Public Services

Taxation and the Public Services

The Perverse Effect

(p.33) Chapter 4 Taxation and the Public Services
The Culture of Contentment

John Kenneth Galbraith

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the role of taxation in the culture of contentment. In the age of contentment, macroeconomic policy has come to center not on tax policy but on monetary policy. Higher interest rates, it is hoped, will curb inflation without posing a threat to people of good fortune. Those with money to lend, the economically well-endowed rentier class, will thus be rewarded. The chapter first considers the role of monetary policy in the entirely plausible and powerfully adverse attitude toward taxation in the community of contentment before discussing the relationship between taxation and public services, and between taxation and public expenditures. It shows that public services and taxation have disparate effects on the Contented Electoral Majority on the one hand, and on the less affluent underclass on the other.

Keywords:   taxation, contentment, macroeconomic policy, tax policy, monetary policy, inflation, public services, public expenditures, Contented Electoral Majority, underclass

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