Transition 2012Transition 2012

Resources on the foreign policy dimensions of the presidential transition

Foreign Affairs Article

PrintPrint EmailEmail ShareShare CiteCite


Are Taxes Too Damn High?

The Debate About the Rate

Authors: Grover Norquist, and Andrea Louise Campbell
November/December 2012
Foreign Affairs


Andrea Campbell tips her hand partway through her essay "America the Undertaxed" (September/October 2012) when she writes that "the central debate in U.S. politics is whether to keep taxes, particularly federal taxes, at their current levels in the long term or emulate other advanced nations and raise them."

So the choice facing Americans is between maintaining the size of the government under President Barack Obama and expanding it further? Who knew? In framing things this way, Campbell posits a Brezhnev Doctrine for U.S. government spending and taxation: what the government takes and spends today is forever ceded by Americans to the state, and that portion of their income not yet taken by the government is negotiable.

Request permission to republish or photocopy this Foreign Affairs article.

Read full article at

More on This Topic


To Fight Inequality, Tax Land

Author: Peter R. Orszag
Bloomberg View

In the lasting debate over Thomas Piketty’s book on outsized returns on capital, a significant fact has been obscured: If you exclude land...


Inequality Starts With Your Employer

Author: Peter R. Orszag
Bloomberg View

Peter R. Orszag writes that the increase in income inequality and the decrease in labor mobility may be related.


Toward a Progressive Tax Policy

Author: Peter R. Orszag

To address economic inequality in the United States, Peter R. Orszag writes that a progressive consumption tax and an inheritance tax would...