Read this paragraph, and tell me who it calls to mind:
“I have never viewed taxation as a means of rewarding one class of taxpayers or punishing another. If such a point of view ever controls our public policy, the traditions of freedom, justice and equality of opportunity, which are the distinguishing characteristics of our American civilization, will have disappeared and in their place we shall have class legislation with all its attendant evils. The man who seeks to perpetuate prejudice and class hatred is doing America an ill service. In attempting to promote or to defeat legislation by arraying one class of taxpayers against another, he shows a complete misconception of those principles of equality on which the country was founded.”
Though that could have been written yesterday, it actually comes from a little book written in 1924 under the name of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, for the purpose of promoting President Coolidge’s plan to reduce tax rates, including top marginal rates on the wealthy.
Mellon goes on…
Any man of energy and initiative in this country can get what he wants out of life. But when that initiative is crippled by legislation or by a tax system which denies him the right to receive a reasonable share of his earnings, then he will no longer exert himself and the country will be deprived of the energy on which its continued greatness depends.
Amity Shlaes mentions the Mellon book on page 276 of her excellent biography, Coolidge.