Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

The Tax Man Cometh

A couple of things here.

First, note the lyrics “There’s one for you/Nineteen for me,” and “Should five percent/Appear too small/Be thankful I don’t/Take it all.” Unbelievable as it may now seem, the marginal tax rate in Britain at the time was 95% (and the American rate wasn’t much lower). Today no country has marginal rates anywhere near that high (so quit yer complainin’ – things could be a lot worse!)

Though the numbers differ somewhat depending on the source, somewhere around half of Americans don’t pay any income taxes on net (they do pay other taxes). Lately, some conservatives have become troubled by this phenomenon, arguing that having most people not pay taxes is bad for democracy (taken to its logical extreme, of course, this sort of argument would apply to all progressive taxation, if not the very existence of an income tax in the first place; the fact that top marginal rates have fallen in tandem so much even as the ranks of the untaxed have been rising also tends to undercut the argument empirically).

Robin Hood is generally known for the fact that he “stole from the rich and gave to the poor.” But apparently the earliest stories about Robin Hood didn’t contain any “gave to the poor” element. It was only later, after he was an established character, that this was added as a rationalization for his actions. You can see something similar with the James-Younger gang, who managed to become folk heroes who were thought to be sticking up for the little guy, even though in reality they were just thieves and murderers.


April 15, 2009 - Posted by | Taxes

1 Comment »

  1. Hmm….By any chance, have you seen this interesting suggestion by Jonah Goldberg at NRO?

    “Uncle Sam’s Long Arm: Let’s have Election Day on tax day.”
    By Jonah Goldberg, 4/3/09

    Comment by Edgewise.Sigma | April 20, 2009 | Reply

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