Don quotes Steve Landsburg against progressive taxation: "Whenever a politician proposes to make the tax code more progressive, we hear rhetoric about how the rich have too much, the poor have too little, it’s only fair to spread the wealth more equally, and so forth. To me, the interesting thing about that rhetoric is that nobody believes it. Of this I’m certain, because in all the years I took my daughter to the playground, I never once heard another parent tell a child that if some kids have more toys than you do, that makes it okay to take some of them away…. [T]axation for the sole purpose of redistributing income is closely parallel to behavior that we admonish on the playground all the time. If we don’t accept this from our kids, I’m not sure why we should accept it from our congressmen.”
First this is obviously factually wrong. It's not true that "nobody believes it", if "it" is the logic of the progressive tax. Lots of people believe it. That's why we've had a progressive tax system that's been in place for a century.
But the example is a non-sequitor. It's true we teach our kids not to steal. But what does stealing have to do with taxes? It's the obvious question that could have been raised pointedly in a comment section, but commenters like that often get accused of being trolls or not understanding economics (some of these critics genuinely don't understand economics but that doesn't mean that they don't raise good points that are often left unanswered).
We also teach children that it's important to share their things. We also teach children that in certain human communities it's not only appropriate, but imperative to make contributions to a common fund where welfare is redistributed from those who have means to those who have needs.
I wouldn't use either of those examples to advocate the elimination of the market and the inauguration of communism because that would be inferring too much of the observation about what we teach our kids (and it's not even an outcome I'd approve of). Likewise Landsburg and Boudreaux should not be so impressed with an incomplete, overextended anecdote or try to draw any extensive conclusions from it.
For the Weekend: Chocolate!
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