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A central yet often overlooked aspect of an income tax is that it acts as insurance against the risk of low income. Because a person’s payments to government are a function of income, he can be assured that in a time of low income, his tax payments will decrease and transfers will increase, while the standard benefits of governments continue to flow. Because everyone, no matter how successful, faces some risk of lost income, that assurance provides us an insurance benefit, even if our income never actually drops.

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151 Tax Notes 1861 (2016)

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Tax Law Commons