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10 Colum. J. Tax L. 1 (2018-2019)

handle is hein.journals/colujoutl10 and id is 1 raw text is: ARTICLES

Jay A. Soled & Kathleen DeLaney Thomas*
Technological advancements are playing a transformative role in curtailing the need for
labor. These very same forces are catapulting capital in the form of robotics, machinery, and
intellectual property to the economic forefront. In virtually every sphere of human existence,
labor's decline and capital's rise have been widely felt. In short, automation has become society's
new focal point.
Notwithstanding the magnitude of these changes, Congress appears committed to retaining
its historic pattern of taxing labor income more heavily than it taxes income derived from capital.
However, as technology continues to evolve and capital gradually eclipses labor's role in the
economy, afundamental shift in the tax system will be needed to maintain a viable revenue stream.
This Article explores the ways that automation has impacted the tax system in terms of
efficiency, fairness, and revenue. It concludes that our twentieth-century tax system is
unsustainable in the twenty-first century. It then offers proposals for how policymakers should
reform the tax law to account for labor's decline and capital's rise. Among other things, the
technological era requires that all income regardless of source bear a similar tax burden.
* Jay A. Soled is a professor at Rutgers Business School, and Kathleen DeLaney Thomas is a professor at
University of North Carolina School of Law. The authors thank Kelly Mauer and Seth Proctor for their excellent
research assistance and Professors David Herzig, Susan C. Morse, Orly Mazur, and the participants at the 2017
National Taxation Association fall meeting for their valuable feedback and insights.

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