Monday, June 28, 2010

Question: Thomas Paine and income tax

Here's a question that I noted some years back
when first I read this book and it has pestered
my mind ever since. Can anyone answer this?

In Iorwerth Prothero's ARTISANS AND POLITICS
AND HIS TIMES (U. of Louisiana Press, 1979), the
author makes the claim that Thomas Paine wanted
the British taxation system to be "replaced by an
income tax which above £23,000 a year should
be 100%."

Is Prothero correct? Honestly, I don't recall it, if so.
As I recall, Paine proposes a tax of 20 Shillings per
pound for the £23,000 estate and hoped it would
encourage the break-up or sell-off large holdings.


  1. Ok, I'm embarassed ... typical American, I guess. I failed to discern that there are but 20 shillings to the pound. And so for all these years, I also failed to discern that Paine did indeed advocate for a 100% tax for the £23,000 per annum income and above!

    Wow, this must be a challenge for our Libertarian admirers of Thomas Paine. (chuckle)

    Wonder what £23,000 is worth in today's currency?

  2. BTW, those figures come from Paine's RIGHTS OF MAN II. You can easily locate his tax tables and proposals.

  3. Using this calculator

    yields a value of just a bit over $3M in 2010 dollars.


Keep it courteous and respectful, please.

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