America Used to Have a Wealth Tax: The Forgotten History of the General Property Tax

The General Property Tax was a mainstay of American public finance in the late 19th century, applying to almost all property, including intangibles like stock, bonds, cash on hand, accounts receivable, and interest in a partnership. This broad wealth tax was whittled away over time to become the narrower property taxes seen in the US today, which mainly apply to real estate. This pared-back approach to wealth taxation has been called into question in recent decades due to rising inequality, and the tools needed to administer a broad wealth tax have improved. In November 2023, the idea of reviving the General Property Tax

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