Matthew , if the apportionment requirement is an insuperable obstacle to direct federal property taxes, then perhaps it is not so “idiotic” after all—-and its “historical origins” are not necessarily “obscure,” n’est-ce pas ?

On a more serious note, if your suspicions are misplaced and R. R. Reno is in fact  serious , the key objection to his reasoning is this: it’s technically true that growth comes from productivity and productivity comes from work and investment rather than the mere ownership of wealth, but a wealth tax undermines the social institutions and environments necessary to foster productive work and investment—-and it’s especially detrimental to the cultivation of institutions whose purposes are non-economic. The maintenance of extra-economic cultural institutions (schools, churches, charitable foundations) is generally dependent upon large accumulations of wealth. Taxing wealth rather than exchange would incentivize us to invest more of our wealth back into economic activity rather than withdrawing it from the economy for other purposes.

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