Of Populism and Taxes

"Of Populism and Taxes," The Public Interest, Summer 1972.


There is no conspiracy—but there is a problem. It is not a problem of income distribution or of inequities of taxation. The problem is the bureaucratization of American society—and the fact that this bureaucratization has failed to accomplish the only thing no bureaucracy dare fail at: the efficient delivery on its promises. Populist dissent today is directed against liberal politics—even when it votes for an “anti-establishment” liberal politician. Liberals may find this incredible: How can the people possibly be against liberal politics, when liberal politics so sincerely has the larger interests of the people at heart? So long as this question can be asked so ingenuously, we shall not have got very far in coping with the upsurge of populist dissent in the 1970’s.

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