The current fiscal crisis faced by the American federal government represents the end of a fiscal regime that began with the financing of World War II. In this volume, an interdisciplinary group of scholars explores the history of American taxation and public finance since 1941 in an attempt to understand the political, social and economic forces that have shaped the current regime. Specifically, they examine the historical context of earlier tax regimes and national crises, explore the ways post-1941 governments used taxation to finance war, social security, and economic stability, and analyze the politics of post-1941 tax reform.


Michael J. Lacey

Part I. Introduction: Methodological and Historical
1. Reflections on the History of Taxation
W. Elliot Brownlee
2. Tax Regimes, National Crises, and State-Building in America
W. Elliot Brownlee

Part II. Taxation for War, Social Security, and Economic Stability
3. Mass-based Income Taxation: Creating a Taxpaying Culture, 1940–1952
Carolyn C. Jones
4. Social Security and the Financing of the American State
Edward D. Berkowitz
5. The Fiscal Revolution in America, Part II: 1964–1994
Herbert Stein

Part III. Tax Reform and the Political Process
6. Learning the Ways and Means: Wilbur Mills and a Fiscal Community, 1954–1964
Julian E. Zelizer
7. American Business and the Taxing State: Alliances for Growth in the Postwar Period
Cathie Jo Martin

Part IV. The Next Revenue Regime
8. Financing the American State at the Turn of the Century
C. Eugene Steuerle


“These scholarly essays are well documented and objective.… This volume will serve as a valuable source of information about events of great importance.”—Political Science Quarterly

“The eight essays in Funding the Modern American State, 1945–1995, offer an excellent guide to US tax policy in the twentieth century.”—Robert Cuff, Business Library Review