Sunday, February 12, 2012

The simple case for progressive taxation

It's not enough to make the moral argument that rich people should pay more. A flat tax where everyone pays the same rate accomplishes that much. No, the argument for progressive taxes, that is, a tax structure where higher incomes are taxed at higher rates, is simply that rich people realize a higher rate of return on our public investments and like anything else they should pay what it's worth to them.

I laid this on a friend of mine recently and he almost sprained his neck trying to politely register his dissent. It's counter-intuitive because when we think about how people benefit from public infrastructure we might first think of food stamps and welfare and medicaid (i.e., programs that aid lower income people). But consider this: would Apple exist if Steve Jobs had been born and raised in, say, Yemen?

It's as simple as that.

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