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Rich People's MovementsGrassroots Campaigns to Untax the One Percent$
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Isaac Martin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199928996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199928996.001.0001

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Populism against the Income Tax

Populism against the Income Tax

(p.44) Chapter 2 Populism against the Income Tax
Rich People's Movements

Isaac William Martin

Oxford University Press

In 1924, country bankers in Texas and Iowa founded tax clubs to petition for the so-called Mellon Plan for lower taxes on the rich. This chapter traces the tax club movement to the efforts of James Asbury Arnold, an organizer who took the skills he acquired from agrarian radicals in the Texas Farmers’ Union and put them to work to lobby for lower taxes on the rich. It shows that the movement caught on among country bankers who saw these tax cuts as a way to keep federally subsidized competitors out of their industry. The tax club activists hoped cutting taxes on the rich would eliminate the appeal of tax-exempt bonds—and thereby dry up their competitors’ funding stream. The tax clubs ultimately swayed key Congressional votes and brought about the largest cut in the top tax rate in American history in the Revenue Act of 1926.

Keywords:   Income tax, Populism, estate tax, tax clubs, Mellon Plan, Federal Farm Loan Act, mortgage finance

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