Tax Policy Should be Part of Our Basic Civic Education

Taxes are our only mandatory civic duty. So why is tax education left out of civics?

You probably recall a school lesson in your past about our “bicameral legislature” or the “separation of powers” between our three branches of government. But did you ever get a lesson in graduated income tax rates, the personal exemption, or how freelancers pay into Social Security?

When the president tries to extract a pledge of loyalty from someone in the Justice Department, an alarm goes off about those “separation of powers,” and as a citizen, you understand a basic tenet of our democracy is being tested. But what about when states propose funding budget shortfalls by increasing the sales tax (which is one of our most regressive taxes), or politicians quietly double the threshold on the estate tax (one of our most powerful tools for fighting the widening wealth gap)? Do these actions trigger the same sense of alarm? …read more…