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Michael Ramsey
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07/08/2012

More on Direct Taxes
Mike Rappaport

While Mike Ramsey links to some work by Jose Alicea, another discussion of whether the tax on not having health insurance is a direct tax is this one by Rob Natelson.  Here is an excerpt:

My book, The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant (2d ed., 2011), pp. 159-61, contains what may be the most complete compendium of Founding-Era sources on the distinction between direct and indirect taxes. While there were some exceptions (for example, although taxes on ownership of capital and household goods were direct, excises on ownership of luxury goods were indirect) the usual line of distinction was that direct taxes were imposed on status, while indirect taxes were imposed on transactions. A tax that one must pay despite doing nothing is the quintessential direct tax.

(Cross-posted at the Liberty Law Blog.)