Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Optimal taxation of top incomes

Tom McDonnell: You can find an interesting paper on optimal top marginal tax rates here.… The authors find that the optimal top marginal tax rate converges to about 2/3. You can read a synopsis of the findings here.

1 comment:

Billy said...

Leave aside for a moment that this paper is very specifically based on Germany.

I find the very notion of "optimal taxation" in the "revenue-maximizing [meaning] considered in this paper." (sec 4.2.2), abhorrent.

This level of taxation means that people are taxed to the point where they are indifferent to choice between a) applying their skills to generate good & services of which others want to avail and b) staying under the duvet.

People, highly paid or otherwise, are not pack animals from which the maximum revenue is to be extracted by government. We live in a society not an economy, as I'm sure you are fond of pointing out. Why should you think it is ok for anyone to be subject to an "optimal taxation" regime? And if you think it is ok for high income earners to be taxed in such a way then morally it must be equally acceptable to tax all income earners in the same way.

It should be a key principle of government that people are always incentivised to work (ie. to contribute to society) in so far as they can. There are two sides to the phrase 'From each by his ability to each by his needs'. And thee recent publication of the report that 1 in 5 Irish kids are growing up in a 'low work density household' ie where the adults work less than about 1 day a week is a wake up call that we need to focus a bit more on the first element of Marx's slogan.