Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Discussion: Progressive Taxes

Dave and I had a great discussion at lunch today regarding progressive taxation (amongst other topics), and he had a fantastic argument that I had never heard before. Just to be sure, progressive taxation (in comparison to proprotional taxation) is where the rate of taxation, not just the amount of the tax, increases with wealth or salary. (For a broad overview, see here). Anywho, Dave's argument for progressive taxation is that there is value in maintaining the existing structure and stability of a society, and the wealthy value that stability more than the poor or middle-class, so they should pay more to ensure that stability and structure. If chaos or revolution erupted, the wealthy might lose their relative status through a redistribution of wealth, so they have a vested interest in making sure that doesn't happen, whereas the poor would love to see a revolution (I'm sure some poor Iraqis made out quite well from all the looting).

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