“Taxation…is not a means of confiscating wealth but of raising necessary revenues for the Government. One of the foundations of our American civilization is equality of opportunity, which presupposes the right of each man to enjoy the fruits of his labor after contributing his fair share to the support of the Government, which protects him and his property.”
In Taxation: The People’s Business, Andrew W. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury from 1921 to 1932, emphasizes the importance of preserving the American “spirit of business adventure,” explaining that “initiative has always been the most valuable American characteristic.” Extremely high surtaxes are “destroying the business initiative” and are viewed by entrepreneurs as a business expense rather than an obligation to the Government.
The system of taxation should be established with regard to its long-term effects and “with a view to its ultimate effect on the prosperity of a county as a whole.”
“The United States is no mere happy accident. What we have has been achieved by courage and hard work. The spirit of business adventure has built up in this country a civilization which offers unprecedented rewards to any man who is willing to work.”
Andrew Mellon served as Secretary of the Treasury under President Coolidge and helped craft his tax policy.