November 23, 2005

they want to do something about the hard working

Jonathan Freedland in the guardian is raging against the oh so horrible disparities in wealth created by people getting rich. Now I am willing to bet that I make substancially less than Mr Freedland, so what is my view on dropping more than a year's worth of my wages on a boozy night out?

No problem really.

It was their money they should be able to spend it any way they like. Personally if I was going to spend that much I would want to buy some sex as well, but everybody's tastes differ.

But for some reason Mr Freedland doesn't like the fact that they just dropped £15,000 into the local economy in the most efficient way possible (Perhaps he objects to efficiency?). The solution to this perceived problem being to recreate a supertax so that the richer pay at a much higher rate. If you want to know why this is economically stupid Tim Worstall explains it better than I could.

What I am interested in is why progressive taxation is seen as fair at all. Asking Google to define fairness comes up with this definition of fairness:
conformity with rules or standards; "the judge recognized the fairness of my claim"
ability to make judgments free from discrimination or dishonesty
paleness: the property of having a naturally light complexion
comeliness: the quality of being good looking and attractive

While I do tend to go a little pale when looking at how much the government steals from me each month I think that you can discount the last two as not being relevant in this case. The first also does not really fit as whatever system that is imposed will be in conformity with rules or standards since it is a set of rules and standards. Which leaves:
ability to make judgments free from discrimination or dishonesty
A progressive tax system is by not free from discrimination. By design it affects people with high earnings disproportionately more than people with less. So it is not free from discrimination, in fact the opposite discrimination based in income is and intrinsic part of it so it cannot be fair.

Ignoring that is is unfair Socialists often argue that this is fine as being rich they will have more money than the less well off and so should throw it away on government so that everybody ends up getting the same. But why should everybody get the same? They are not doing the same, some people will be doing jobs that require more effort than others why should they not be rewarded for this extra effort? Again to me it simply seems unfair that in order to get the same some people would have to work disproportionately harder than others because of their vocation.


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