Economics, Taxes and Spending

Brooks: Fairness Means We Reward Merit

We’re reaching the part of the day when those having Easter dinners — usually earlier than early-bird specials — are letting the ham digest and settling in front of the computer to catch up on the news. May I humbly suggest taking a gander at the op-ed from our president, Arthur Brooks, in today’s Outlook section of the Washington Post. Which, I might add, has racked up nearly 1,000 comments on the Post’s website as of this posting.

In countering House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan to rein in the ever-ballooning national deficit, President Obama has again pushed the premise of higher taxes on upper-income brackets, tax hikes that were beaten into submission in the deal struck with the GOP to extend the Bush-era tax cuts at the end of the last Congress. Brooks counters that Obama’s call to “live in a society that’s fair” shouldn’t include the taxation of those who happen to earn more. “If opportunity in America is a sham — if the system is rigged and some people get the breaks only for reasons of luck, birth, or discrimination — then merit is fictitious and redistribution brings greater fairness,” Brooks writes. “But if America is an opportunity society — if you have the chance to work harder, get more education and innovate — then rewarding merit is fair, and it is fair for some to make more money than others.”

Read Brooks’s argument for defining fairness as meritocracy, and take the conversation all the way through dessert…

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