My Colleagues Steve Bank and Kirk Stark Guest-Blogging About Their War and Taxes Book:

I'm delighted to report that my colleagues Steve Bank and Kirk Stark will be guest-blogging next week about their new book (cowritten with Joseph Thorndike), War and Taxes. Both Steve and Kirk are top tax law scholars, and in particular among the few scholars of tax history. Here's a brief description of their topic:

During World War II, Americans were urged to ration food, save money, and pay higher taxes. After September 11, 2001 they were told to go shopping, keep spending, and enjoy a sweeping tax cut. Have political leaders abandoned America's noble tradition of homefront sacrifice? Or have they simply adapted to economic and social realities that make sacrifice unnecessary?

In a new book from the Urban Institute Press, authors Steven A. Bank, Kirk J. Stark, and Joseph J. Thorndike tell the story of taxation during wartime, beginning with the Revolutionary War and continuing through the War of 1812, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the undeclared wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Bank, Stark, and Thorndike conclude that recent tax cuts mark a break with tradition: never before have so many Americans enjoyed sweeping tax cuts in the midst of a war. But the authors warn against any temptation to mythologize the nation's fiscal history. Past generations accepted heavy wartime taxes as the price of freedom and security. But they also resisted and complained about those taxes. Politicians of the past made room for self-indulgence amid the sacrifice. While today's politicians seem more focused on the self-indulgence than the sacrifice, they also operate in a different climate and under different constraints. It remains to be seen whether continued neglect of the fiscal sacrifice side of the equation is sustainable.

I much look forward to Steve's and Kirk's posts.