Slaying Leviathan: The Moral Case for Tax Reform

From punishing prosperity with progressive tax rates to borrowing billions to bail out banks, U.S. fiscal policy over the course of the last century has undermined both natural justice and economic well-being. In the natural order, virtue and vice each carries its own consequences. On the one hand, virtue yields largely positive results; hard work, patience, and carefulness, for example, tend to bring about prosperity. Vice, on the other hand, brings negative consequences; sloth, impatience, and recklessness, for example, lead to suffering.

In my forthcoming book, Slaying Leviathan: The Moral Case for Tax Reform, I argue that, since the early twentieth century, U.S. tax policy has mitigated the natural economic results of virtue and vice. By creating incentives and disincentives that overturn the natural consequences of both, the federal government has perverted its own proper function as an enforcer of rights and instrument of justice and become part of the problem that it exists to correct—fostering social breakdown while dampening economic prosperity.

Slaying Leviathan envisions an approach to tax policy rooted in natural justice. To achieve this goal, it first traces the historical evolution of U.S. tax policy, from the 1765 Stamp Act to the 1997 tax cut. It then assesses the current American tax burden and former president George W. Bush’s tax cuts and explores the fundamental problems with U.S. tax policy. After providing a historical analysis of federal spending and of expanding governmental expectations, the book offers a set of over-arching principles and instructions on how to apply them to tax policy proposals.

The late, great Jack Kemp said, "Slaying Leviathan issues a devastating indictment of the absurdity that has masqueraded as tax policy for the last century. Carbone’s insightful book illustrates the moral damage wrought by the misuse of tax policy to overturn natural justice. Combining history with vision, economic reality with social and moral reasoning, and humor with outrage, Slaying Leviathan is important not only for the coming debate over tax reform but also for understanding the economic roots of modern moral malaise.”

You can order Slaying Leviathan: The Moral Case for Tax Reform here.

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