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A lot of it starts with how you frame the discussion. If you start from an instinctive sense of what's "fair", then you get the current state of affairs: escalating wealth disparity (where else is this more visible than on the streets of SF, where millionaires trip over the homeless?), an America in 2019 that has no sane health policy in sight, and guys like Paul Ryan gleefully crowing about reining in "entitlements" in order to feed an agenda of tax cuts. All of it starts from the kind of mindset demonstrated in the parent post.

If, instead of starting from a vague sense of what feels fair, you instead see wealth as a measure of one's responsibility to a society and look at the actual effects of these various redistributive policies, you get a very different picture. It's often pointed out (including in TFA) that some of the most prosperous, productive periods of American history had extremely high tax rates, but it's amazing when you actually look at the raw numbers for yourself:


It's baffling to me that faced with this, people continue to push this idea that the key to economic stimulation is tax cuts at the top end.

I mean, to me "fair" would be everyone paying the same tax total, like $1k per person per year.

The next level of "fair" would be everyone paying the same tax rate, like 10% of their income.

Just because a tax can be shouldered by some group doesn't mean it ought to be levied. It's extremely unfair.

Equity is evil. Equality is good.

The whole point of my post is that when your starting point in the discussion is to seek a taxation scheme that's "fair", you've already lost.

The point should be to seek an outcome that is good for the society as whole, and that means balancing a lot of different objectives. For example:

- People who are wealthy and successful should enjoy an elevated standard of living.

- Regardless of your birth and other factors outside your control (race, wealth of parents, etc), it should be possible to achieve wealth through hard work.

- No one who works hard should lack basic necessities like food and shelter.

The current system optimizes heavily for the first item at the expense of the other two, and the fact that someone can even propose with a straight face that a flat $1k/year taxation scheme would be "fair" is just a sign of how broken our attitudes around this are.

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