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Tax, Inequality, and Human Rights$
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Philip G. Alston and Nikki R. Reisch

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190882228

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190882228.001.0001

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Recent Cases of Regressive and Racially Disparate Taxation in the United States

Recent Cases of Regressive and Racially Disparate Taxation in the United States

(p.469) Chapter 21 Recent Cases of Regressive and Racially Disparate Taxation in the United States
Tax, Inequality, and Human Rights

Andre L. Smith

Oxford University Press

This chapter assesses whether there is a national trend in the United States toward disproportionate imposition of regressive taxes on low-income communities of color, reflective of a deliberate effort to shift the tax burden from the wealthy and white to the poor and black. This phenomenon is not new. There is a history of communities that are facing financial exigencies correcting their budget deficits by levying formal and informal taxes on black people. The collateral consequence of formal and informal taxes levied disproportionately on black people includes more potentially violent confrontations with police and responses like the Black Lives Matter Movement. The chapter then considers whether well-intentioned white folks have lent their support to racist taxation, perhaps unwittingly, because the stated purposes of increased taxes satisfy their social desires while it squares with their financial interests to ignore the disparate racial ramifications.

Keywords:   regressive taxes, low-income communities, formal taxes, informal taxes, black people, Black Lives Matter, racist taxation

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