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Taxes Exceeds The Power Of Rome

1010 words - 5 pages

The tax system of the ancient Roman Empire, from the time the Republic began in 509 BC throughout the empire that Octavian established in 27 BC, operated with efficiencies and inefficiencies (DeLorme). Taxation extends benefits to citizens in the form of public works as well as costs if the governing bodies impose excessive, unequal or unfair taxes. Taxpayers see the tax collector as a necessary evil, but when the taxing power falls under the control of one emperor or a few powerful people, these people use their position and the revenue generated as personal gain (DeLorme). The average taxpayers of Rome were peasant farmers who seen these actions as a unfortunate situation that they could ...view middle of the document...

For instance, the USA now uses a mildly progressive federal tax system in which the rate of taxation increases with income (DeLorme). Rome did not have a progressive tax system. People who study the Roman economy make the point that taxation was regressive. The Late Roman Empire taxed its citizens heavily, but upper classes, members of the elite, did not pay a higher percentage than the peasant class. It was described on how the right to elect officials disappeared along with the Republic and led to an abuse of power by the Roman elite, who could now oppress the poor in each territorial unit without punishment (DeLorme). The powerful governors collected taxes and the people living in a particular area of the Empire remained helpless under the control of the emperor, unless they rise in rebellion. The emperor had no checks on his power.
Heavy taxation does harm to the productiveness of an economy, but taxes are necessary to build roads, pay teachers, maintain public buildings and parks. Taxes also keep a large prepared military, and support the displaced and disabled in society. The power to tax is the one great power upon which the whole national fabric is based. It is as necessary to the existence and prosperity of a nation as is the air he breathes to the natural man. It is not only the power to destroy, but it is also the power to keep alive (“Nicol v. Ames”). When emperors and member of the government choose to use rent-seeking tactics or high taxation on citizens to corrupt the system, the nation will fall. The military was starting to reduce in size because higher military expenditures required higher taxes. The higher taxes levied on land discouraged agricultural production. With a corrupt system of taxation farmers were unable to pay and create a lost in agricultural growth. With the decrease in agricultural production brought about by these taxes resulted in a decrease in the quantity of wheat on the market, and higher wheat prices. This was the first time Rome was...

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