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The Fiscal Question, the Federal Question

Anno XXXII, n. 139, marzo-aprile 1997
Centro Einaudi


The ‘classic pages’ we have chosen for this issue are three of Einaudi’s parliamentary speeches. The first was made in 1922 on the occasion of Mussolini’s request for full powers in tributary and administrative reform, the second and third in 1946 to the Constituent Assembly. The problem of taxation is the central issue in the first speech, but also plays an important role in the other two. As a true liberal, Einaudi felt that a tax system subjected solely to the will of the majority could not be regarded as just. His speeches to the Constituent Assembly offer much food for thought in these times of hotchpotch institutional reform. Einaudi is clearly inspired by an evolutionary vision of institutions, their birth and their reform. He was strongly in favour of a federal-style system but realised the need to take into account, on the one hand, the history of Italy, which had not come into being as a federal nation, and, on the other, the possibility that the regions would not work. Hence he believed that powers should be attributed progressively, bearing in mind how those already granted has been utilised.