And now, a word from Karl Marx
Oh, wait. That was Adam Smith.The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state…. The necessaries of life occasion the great expence of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expence of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be any thing very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expence, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.
I remember reading that quote years ago in this brilliant little email that was circulating. Anybody have that lying around? It's not on Google. Anyway, after I read that I started tittering every time conservative hacks argued for market fundamentalism using Adam Smith as an argument.
(I totally stole this post from Edge of the American West, btw, which you should all be reading.)