Front Page Titles (by Subject) Peace, Liberty, and Taxes - Collected Works of Bastiat. Vol. 2: The Law, The State, and Other Political Writings, 1843-1850
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Peace, Liberty, and Taxes - Frédéric Bastiat, Collected Works of Bastiat. Vol. 2: The Law, The State, and Other Political Writings, 1843-1850 
The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 2: The Law, The State, and Other Political Writings, 1843-1850, Jacques de Guenin, General Editor. Translated from the French by Jane Willems and Michel Willems, with an introduction by Pascal Salin. Annotations and Glossaries by Jacques de Guenin, Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean, and David M. Hart. Translation Editor Dennis O’Keeffe. Academic Editor, David M. Hart (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2012).
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Peace, Liberty, and Taxes
In the pamphlet “Peace and Freedom or the Republican Budget” (1849), Bastiat’s skill as a writer and thinker enables him to rapidly turn the mundane topic of the national budget into one of principle and high theory. He quickly goes beyond strict budgetary considerations to reach a high level of theoretical analysis and, in so doing, provides an original and audacious contribution to the field of tax theory. In fact, he may be the first author to support the idea that “taxes kill taxes”—in other words, the concept known in our own time as the Laffer Curve.
In this text Bastiat blames both the “financiers,” who try to obtain fiscal equilibrium by taxing people, and the so-called advanced republicans, who make so many promises to their constituents that an increase in taxes is unavoidable. Bastiat believed that it was important to secure the stability of the young republic by alleviating the tax burden on the people, thus inducing them to “love the republic.” For Bastiat, in order for public finance to blossom, the rational thing to do would be to decrease tax rates, not increase them, because, for the state, “taxing more is to receive less.”20 Bastiat does not hesitate to write that even if there is a budget deficit, taxes must be reduced, as much out of principle as out of the recognition that economic hardship has been so severe that the people have to receive some relief. As he put it, such a solution “is not boldness, it is prudence”!21
[20. ]“Peace and Freedom or the Republican Budget,” p. 294. Italics in the original.
[21. ]Ibid., p. 305.