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Kornhauser contributes chapter to new tax law book

July 16, 2010

Professor Marjorie Kornhauser's chapter, “Remembering the ‘Forgotten Man’ (and Woman): Hidden Taxes and the 1936 Election,” has been published in a new book, Studies in the History of Tax Law, Volume 4.

Hidden (indirect) taxes were a major theme in the Republican Party’s attempt to defeat Roosevelt in the 1936 presidential election. Republicans argued that New Deal programs were not free, but rather, were funded by the very people they were supposed to help – the common or “forgotten” men and women – who paid in the form of increasingly heavy hidden taxes on everything from bread to electricity. By stressing the issue of hidden taxes, Republicans hoped to reveal Roosevelt’s hypocrisy, raise the average voter’s ‘tax consciousness,’ and thereby undermine support for Roosevelt. Once sensitized to taxes, the masses would, Republicans believed, vote for Alfred Landon because he would provide the necessary relief and economic stimulants in a less costly manner and would reform the tax system to rely more on direct taxes such as the income tax. Much of the 1936 rhetoric and campaign tactics remain the same in today’s tax debates.

The book, edited by John Tiley and published by Hart Publishing, contains the full text of the papers presented at the fourth Tax Law History Conference in July 2008. It was organized by the Cambridge Law Faculty’s Centre for Tax Law.

Kornhauser is Director of the Tax Literacy Project. Her research focuses on the intersection of federal income taxation and society, and explores the philosophical, social, political, gendered and historical aspects of taxation.

Janie Magruder,
(480) 727-9052
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law