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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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Labor, Capital, and Human Rights

Labor, Capital, and Human Rights

(p.487) Chapter 22 Labor, Capital, and Human Rights
Tax, Inequality, and Human Rights

Beverly Moran

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how the US tax code—like many Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country tax codes—favors capital over labor, and thereby is at odds with fundamental tenets of human rights and policy principles regarding equity. This bias in favor of capital may not only be counterproductive in terms of its impacts on revenue generation and tax administration. It also entrenches inequalities and disregards the ways in which the human body, with its labor capacity, is the most essential “asset” on which most people rely. Therefore, labor should enjoy the preferences, such as the realization principle and depreciation, from which capital currently benefits. The chapter then outlines a course of investigation for further study including contrasting Social Security old-age pension and disability benefits, and exploring the consequences of shifting property to accrual accounting while providing the human body with generous depreciation deductions and tax deferral through realization.

Keywords:   US tax code, capital, labor, human rights, labor capacity, realization, depreciation deductions, old age pension, disability benefits, tax deferral

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