Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Taxing Other Wealth

When we tax wealth, why tax only income and property? Why not tax educational achievement instead? If you have a PhD you pay more. Goodbye Marxist U.

I don’t want an overall increase, just redistribution, so that the educationally rich pay their fair share. Set everyone’s tax rate lower. Put in a multiplying factor for additional years of schooling after highschool. For those professions where schooling already leads to higher income, such as engineers, doctors, or lawyers, it will be a wash. If you had a poor education but made a bundle of money, big advantage to you.

If you have a Master’s in Theatrical Arts or a PhD in Social Theory, the outlook will be less rosy. Alternatively, we could treat education like property, and have people pay a tax each year on what they’ve got.

Look, the educationally wealthy are just winners of life’s lottery, like the monetarily wealthy, right? They chose their parents and their genetics well, and were rewarded with the great wealth of knowledge and understanding that makes life worth living. So what if they worked hard for it? Didn’t people work hard for their money as well?

I’m undecided whether people could donate their educational skills instead of cash. The folks with advanced degrees would want to teach in their specialties, but what we need are math and science teachers for grades 7-12, especially in cities. I’m not sure they’d be competent to teach that. If they passed a subject competency, maybe…

Try to articulate why this is a ridiculous idea without also proving that taxing income is ridiculous as well.


Anonymous said...

How will you deal with autodidacts; accuse them of tax evasion?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Autodidacts do very well in this system, eh?

Anonymous said...

"Try to articulate why this is a ridiculous idea without also proving that taxing income is ridiculous as well."

I'd say that your comparision would more properly be directed at property taxes.

By definition, income is money, which is a tradeable commodity. Thus, you take a share of it, much as you would have taken a share of say, the harvest, in agricultural times.

There's no way to subdivide "education" to take a share of that that's usable elsewhere, directly. You could mandate that every week, high school grads taught a free hour in the schools, and college grads 3, and ph.d's 10, but that's about the only way to do that.

Otherwise, you're assigning a arbitrary (monetary) value to education, which may or may not be actually *producing* income/anything tradeable.

In a way, you answer your own question, by offering to 'tax' (presumably, by paying exchangable credits, dollars) education. When you tax income, you're taking a percentage of that money. With the education, you're assigning a value, and then assessing it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, the above was me, the Blogger bug bit again. (I previewed, so it shows the name right, then posts as anon).