Faulty memory of a flat-tax America

In his April 14 letter “Hiking taxes even more will lead us to disaster,” Dale Hobbs attacks Leon Neyfakh’s suggestion, in an April 7 Ideas piece, that people would feel better about paying their taxes if the IRS explained what their tax dollars achieved. After implying that Europe’s problems derive from high-tax socialism, and that we will follow their path if we raise taxes, Hobbs makes the stunning suggestion that “we could return to our lower, flatter-tax, higher-growth-rate American roots and let our people be free to earn more and take more risk.”

I don’t know where Hobbs’s roots begin, but America has thrived on a progressive tax system for almost 100 years. From 1950 to 1963 the top tax rate was 91 percent, and only dropped to about 50 percent by 1982, at which time the base was 12 percent.

If we don't know the truth of the past, or if we distort it, then we can hardly hope to achieve good policies for all our people.

Bill Whitacre