What a Fair Tax System Would Look Like


In a recent Prager University video, historian Amity Shlaes articulates a pretty straightforward position for many of us on the right end of the political spectrum: In taxation, percentages are implicitly fair and inherently progressive.

Unfortunately, she also correctly points out the difficulty facing those who would return the tax code to fairness:

… reversing a century of progressivity won’t be easy. For when you cut taxes for all in a progressive rate structure, the rich necessarily get a larger tax break. That is so because they pay a greater share to begin with, and advocating “larger breaks for the rich” is not a popular political move, to put it mildly.

She then goes on to touch on a theme that’s popping up in a variety of contexts.  We need to stop attempting reform by addition and make it, well, reform.  In other words, adding more and more tax credits for this group or that group in an effort to get back to what’s fair, we should intelligently assess what we have and simply revise it.

Of course, talking about intelligence in policy and politics has become just about a sign of insanity in modern America.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    I recently posted on this topic in another forum. I received a reply about the “greatest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich since the 19th century”. The respondent then moved from 19th century philosophy to something almost medieval. What these people fail to realize is that wealth is not static. Getting a “bigger piece of the pie” does not mean reducing the size of others, the “pie” is not finite. Our system makes the pie bigger. Wealth is created, it is not simply transferred. Let us ignore the current focus, Mr. Trump. Let us consider the founder of Microsoft, many times wealthier than Trump. Whose wealth was “transferred” to him? It could be said that they created an entire new industry. How about the founders of Facebook and Twitter? Their wealth is shared when they expend it for jets, yachts, multi million dollar penthouses. I recently read a survey of new Bugatti purchasers. “the buyer owns 42 cars, at least one jet, one yacht, three helicopters, and four houses”. Their wealth is not frozen in gold bars.

  • Philip Spadola

    Is Prager University accredited? Is it even a university in the traditional sense?

    • Mike678

      Nice. Let’s not explore the concept–just question the source. Deflection? A desire not to question–an excuse not to examine one’s biases and assumptions? What could it be?

      • Rhett Hardwick

        Prager University is not accredited, nor does it have a campus, nor tuition. It was recently created as a “on line” university by a radio talk show host. Who knows what the future holds, Dartmouth was created as a school for Indians.

        • Mike678

          Agreed, but not the point. Ideas have no rank, no “elitist” filter that many try to impose in an attempt to deny thought/differing opinions. A discussion of the merits of the idea/argument is more appropriate.

          • Rhett Hardwick

            Agreed. Just answering the question of whether it was accredited. Curious about it myself since I had never heard of it. My daughter went to Dartmouth, “discussion of the merits” was not welcome there.