Taxing and Spending: Tax Revolt or Tax Protest?

Maria A. Confalonieri and Kenneth Newton

in The Scope of Government

Published in print September 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294740
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598838 | DOI:

Series: Beliefs in Government

 Taxing and Spending: Tax Revolt or Tax Protest?

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As the scale of government expenditures increased across post‐war Western Europe, so did levels of public disquiet at the increases in the rate of taxation required to pay for such expenditure. This chapter estimates the strength and nature of this ‘tax revolt’. Was it a reversion to usual grumbling about high taxes, or was it part of a more serious and fundamental re‐appraisal of the basic redistributive aims of the welfare state? Three basic issues are addressed here: first, the nature of the evidence provided by surveys of mass opinion regarding the tax revolt; second, whether evidence exists that the tax revolt is related to a more general backlash against the welfare state; third, whether the survey data support the view that the citizens of the modern state ‘want something for nothing’ out of the welfare and tax systems in their countries.

Keywords: tax revolt; taxation policy; welfare state; Western Europe

Chapter.  9604 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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