What did Thomas Jefferson think the US tax system should be like?Who should be taxed? How much? Where should the burden of taxation be? What should the government pay for?

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saintfester | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Jefferson's views on taxes are not really well known, but some of the quotes from his writings give us clues as to what his overall economic policies were.

His most famous quote is probably, "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society." Jefferson believed that like a government, taxes were a nessecery evil. He believed that taxes were preferrable to spending into debt, and always said that governments should never saddle the next generation with any sort of debt.

He also believed in a simple, flat tax as opposed to several different taxes since the latter seemed to encouage corruption. He believed that a simple tax code without complexities would in the end save money and create less waste in terms of unessecery offices. It also decreased the size of the federal government.

To accomplish this goal, he abolished all internal taxes (whisky tax and land tax) and ran the government on trade tariffs and the dale of public lands alone. Jefferson thought internal taxation on the American people should only be used for emergencies only.

 

 

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