Simplifying Montesquieu in The Wealth of Nations, how does he conclude that tax payers be exempt from taxes on the necessities of life?The language used in his literature is very ancient, so if...

Simplifying Montesquieu in The Wealth of Nations, how does he conclude that tax payers be exempt from taxes on the necessities of life?

The language used in his literature is very ancient, so if possible, could you please answer in English that everyone can understand:)

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As far as Montesquieu's writings in The Wealth of Nations, I am unaware if he ever wrote such a book.  I have some understanding of the book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith.  In this book, Smith features some fairly strong assertions on taxation.  Essentially, he suggests that taxes should be exerted by the state on its citizens in order to ensure that the state can maintain its proper functions such as maintenance, providing protection, and basic functionality.  The taxes imposed on citizens should be "contrived as both to take out and to keep out of the pockets of the people as little as possible, over and above what it brings into the public treasury of the State."  In this, we see that Smith feels strongly that there can be taxation, so long as it is not excessive and does not overstep the boundaries of government into the marketplace or private sector.  Smith suggests that since individuals have clear definitions and boundaries that should remain free from government intrusion, taxes on basic necessities of life are not in keeping with the rules of the marketplace.  His belief is that if government begins to tax on necessities, it would significantly damage an individual's ability to make and keep their earnings and secondly, such intervention violates the established boundaries of an individual's right to abide by the law of the marketplace.