Taxes: The End of a Nuisance?

A hundred and seventy years ago this month, George Washington dispatched a force of 16,000 troops to put down the Whiskey Rebellion, an uprising of western Pennsylvania corn farmers against the federal excise tax on distillers. The rebellion was subdued, but the clamor against excise taxes—a form of national sales tax levied on certain goods and transactions—still goes on. Both businessmen and consumers have long considered the excise tax a bothersome burden. In this election year, the issue is one of the few on which both presidential candidates seem to agree: the Democratic platform pledges to eliminate many excise...

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