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No, Taxes Shouldn’T Be A “Fairness” Issue


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J.E. Dyer



What are we, six years old? Taxes should pay for the costs of government. That’s what we have taxes for.


The proper purpose of taxes is not to establish a condition of “fairness.” It’s to pay for government: a legislature, executive, military, police, firefighting, courts, schools. But for 100 years now, the percentage-based income tax has been shifting public dialogue on taxes steadily away from their proper purpose, and toward increasingly juvenile arguments over “fairness,” as if the tax code is like Mom, telling Makayla to share the toys and be patient because Brendan is little.


If we let taxation be about “fairness,” rather than paying for the cost of government, the two big problems we have are defining “fairness,” and defining the role of government in promoting it. Those questions will never be settled to the satisfaction of all.



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More notes on “fairness”



1. Is fairness properly cultivated as a condition or an attitude?......


2. Are “fairness” and “equality” synonymous?......


3. In human life or government, does failing to make “fairness” the goal of a proposal inherently mean that the proposal is unfair, or will produce unfair outcomes?......


4. Is “unfair” being used to mean “doesn’t favor or disfavor the things I would”?.....


5. Is it possible to “reason” our way into putting “fairness” in the proper perspective, without adopting an attitude about it on principle? .....





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