Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version

June 2005


Published in Cornhusker Economics, 06/15/2005. Produced by the Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


Substantial reductions in personal income tax rates and an elimination of the estate tax have been major priorities for the current presidential administration. When arguing for tax cuts, George W. Bush has frequently told Americans that “It’s your money.” According to Princeton University ethicist Peter Singer, “His message was that when governments tax their subjects, they take money that belongs to the taxpayers and spend it—instead of letting the taxpayers decide for themselves how they want to spend it” (Singer 2004, p. 11). Singer thinks most Americans believe taxes are their money. As he puts it, “Of course it was their money—where else did the government get its money from, but by taxing the money they earned?” (p. 14).