TAXATION, THE PRIVATE LAW, AND DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE a
We argue that for theorists with a post-institutional conception of property, e.g., Rawlsians, there is no principled reason to limit the domain of distributive justice to tax and transfer-both tax policy and the rules of the private law are constructed in service to distributive aims. Such theorists cannot maintain a commitment to a normative conception of private law independent of their overarching distributive principles. In contrast, theorists with a pre-institutional conception of property can derive the private law from sectors of morality independent of distributive justice. Nevertheless, we argue, this does not entail that the private law, for pre-institutional theorists, must be sanitized of equity-oriented values. Non-libertarian pre-institutional theorists holding principled commitments to equity-oriented values are free to invoke either tax and transfer or the rules of the private law to attain them.
a We are grateful to John G. Bennett, Harry Dolan, Edward McCaffery, and Ellen Frankel Paul for written comments on a previous draft and to Eric Mack, Fred Miller, Jeffrey Paul, A. John Simmons, and the other contributors to this volume for valuable discussions.