Tax and Monopoly Focus: Reframing Tax Policy to Reset the Rules of the Monopoly Game

October 27, 2022

While recent efforts to curb monopoly power have rightly centered robust enforcement of antitrust laws and the use of public options to outcompete private incumbents, tax policy has been overlooked.

“Tax and Monopoly Focus”—a joint essay collection published by the Balanced Economy Project, the Tax Justice Network, and the Roosevelt Institute—fills that gap, outlining how today’s tax policies have exacerbated the power of dominant, incumbent corporations. As Roosevelt’s Niko Lusiani writes in his introduction to the collection, drawing on history can help us rethink the tax code as a powerful lever to curb the excessive economic and market power of large corporations and their owners.

This special edition of “Tax and Monopoly Focus” collects five timely contributions from an array of experts to explore the role our tax code can play as a complementary anti-monopoly tool.

  • Susan Holmberg and Stacy Mitchell illustrate how a broken tax system fueled the rise of Amazon’s 21st-century retail monopoly, and propose policy fixes to deploy tax as a tool to curb excess market power.
  • Reuven Avi-Yonah traces the anti-monopoly roots of the corporate income tax, and proposes a steeply progressive corporate income tax rate to rebalance markets.
  • George Dibb distinguishes productive profits from unearned rents, and shows how tax policy and competition policy can work together to limit market concentration.
  • Allison Christians’ work cuts through the conceptual, philosophical, and political waters to help guide readers to delineate between normal, windfall, excess, or otherwise abnormal profits.
  • Roosevelt’s Niko Lusiani and Emily DiVito analyze how an individual wealth tax on American billionaires who hold their wealth in shares could prevent them from amassing excess market power.

This collection helps remind readers that tax policy has been central to the growth of today’s oligopolistic markets, and helps reimagine tax policy as a tool to curb corporate consolidation and ultimately rebalance our economy to favor the many, not the few.