chapter  31
7 Pages

The Potential for Taxpayer Revolt in American Democracy

WithJAMES M. BUCHANAN

As early as 1969, Treasury Secretary Joseph Barr warned of a “taxpayers’ revolt.” In the decade that followed, there seemed to be growing evidence of ap­ parent taxpayer discontent.1 Such discontent was easily understandable given the dramatic acceleration in the growth of government spending, and hence in real tax rates. However, almost all efforts to generate effective taxpayer resist­ ance failed to gain momentum. The attempted organization of taxpayers’ lobbies met with little success. Proposition 1 was soundly defeated in California in 1972. A comparable attempt met a comparable fate in Michigan in 1976. The task for analysis seemed to be that of explaining failure rather than success.