Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Deficits, Debt, and the New Politics of Tax Policy


  • Date Published: January 2013
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107641402

£ 21.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • The Constitution grants Congress the power 'to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises'. From the First Congress until today, conflicts over the size, role and taxing power of government have been at the heart of national politics. This book provides a comprehensive historical account of US tax policy that emphasizes the relationship between taxes and other budget components. It explains how wars, changing conceptions of the domestic role of government, and beliefs about deficits and debt have shaped the modern tax system. The contemporary focus of this book is the partisan battle over budget policy that began in the 1960s and triggered the disconnect between taxes and spending that has plagued the budget ever since. With the US government now facing its most serious deficit and debt challenge in the modern era, partisan debate over taxation is almost completely divorced from fiscal realities.

    • Examines the historical development of the US tax system, explains the relative importance of income taxes, payroll taxes and other taxes in the modern era, and discusses the fairness, economic efficiency and revenue-raising characteristics of federal tax policy
    • Analyzes US tax policy in its budget policy context, emphasizes how decision making on taxes is affected by spending and fiscal policy, and focuses on Democratic and Republican party tax policy differences
    • A timely appraisal of the adequacy of the current US tax system in terms of future national security and entitlement commitments and the enormous deficit and problems the federal government now faces
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Ippolito traces how wars, ideas about government size, and attitudes toward deficit finance shaped the US federal tax system. His impressive historic tableau, more descriptive than analytical, covers the Continental Congress (which had no taxing power) to the 2012 elections (when lawmakers lacked the courage to tax). Summing up: recommended. Upper-division undergraduate and graduate students, researchers and faculty.' J. L. Mikesell, Choice

    'The decoupling of tax and spending policies, Ippolito persuasively contends, is less a result of inexorable economic or demographic forces than of critical choices made by political elites in the last thirty years of the twentieth century … Ippolito does occasionally return to the main theme of exploring the causes and consequences of the political disconnect between tax and spending policies, but his central focus is on making a compelling empirical case - and at times a subtle, normative one - for why the United States has lost its fiscal discipline and why it ought to try to regain it.' Ajay K. Mehrotra, The Journal of America History

    'Dennis S. Ippolito's Deficits, Debt, and the New Politics of Tax Policy provides a refreshing update and a very important reminder that the United States federal government's financial situation is both insecure in its substance and perhaps woefully inadequate in its ability to respond to structural problems arising in the budget and tax systems. … The strength of this volume lies in its ability to, in one concise book, integrate the problems, historical and current, in both budgeting and taxation.' John F. Witte, Congress and the Presidency

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107641402
    • length: 296 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 151 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 28 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. A brief history of federal taxation
    2. The stable era - World War II to the 1960s
    3. Destabilizing tax policy - Vietnam and the 1970s
    4. The Reagan strategy - balancing low
    5. The Clinton strategy - balancing high
    6. Bush, Obama, and fiscal deadlock
    7. Reconnecting taxes and budgets.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • American Economic Policymaking
  • Author

    Dennis S. Ippolito, Southern Methodist University, Texas
    Dennis S. Ippolito is Eugene McElvaney Professor of Political Science at Southern Methodist University. Among his previous books are Why Budgets Matter: Budget Policy and American Politics, Uncertain Legacies: Federal Budget Policy from Roosevelt through Reagan, Hidden Spending: The Politics of Federal Credit Programs, Congressional Spending, and The Budget and National Politics. He was awarded the 2010 Aaron B. Wildavsky Award for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement in the Field of Public Budgeting and Finance.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.