Is It Fair?

Stephen Moore posted an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal titled Fairness Quiz. He asks a lot of questions of whether we think it’s fair. Here are some of them, with my comments attached.

Is it fair that the richest 1% of Americans pay nearly 40% of all federal income taxes, and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax?

Here is a statistic that is deceiving at best and probably purposely misleading. Where does Moore get this fact, and does he realize the fact is incomplete? What is missing here is: How much INCOME did the richest 1% of Americans actually have? If they had 40% of the income, then 40% of the federal income tax burden, assuming a flat tax, would be totally fair. I do not claim to know what exactly the top 1% earned, but it is critical information necessary to evaluate a response to the question whether it is fair.

Is it fair that the richest 10% of Americans shoulder a higher share of their country’s income-tax burden than do the richest 10% in every other industrialized nation, including socialist Sweden?

So what? You cannot compare one country’s economics to that of another, particularly when they have vastly different systems. I can say for sure I’d much rather be in America in business than in any European country, no matter what their tax structure. Why are so many European executives and entrepreneurs coming to America? Is it fair? Apparently it is.

Is it fair that American corporations pay the highest statutory corporate tax rate of all other industrialized nations but Japan, which cuts its rate on April 1?

Where is it written that we need to do what other countries do? I would call it stupid if we allow other countries to exploit America economically. But I am certain that the exploitation has nothing to do with the statutory corporate tax rate. There are dozens of more effective reasons why we’re being exploited and why we’re allowing it, but that’s another topic.

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