Socratic Method & The US Federal Income Tax


Cropped image of a Socrates bust for use in ph...

Cropped image of a Socrates bust for use in philosophy-related templates etc. Bust carved by by Victor Wager from a model by Paul Montford, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John:  “Rich people should pay more in taxes and poor people should pay less.”

Socrates:  “How much more should the rich people pay?”

John:  “They should pay their fair share, since they are making so much more than us.”

Socrates:  “Define their fair share for me.”

John:  “Well, if someone makes ten times as much as me, they should pay ten times as much in taxes.”

Socrates:  “How much money do you make John?”

John:  “My wife and I make $45,000 a year.”

Socrates:  “So, if you two paid $10,000 in taxes, someone who makes $450,000 a year should pay $100,000 in taxes?”

John:  “Yes, that sounds about right.”

Socrates:  “Okay, so what I am hearing you say is that people should pay their fair share?”

John:  “Exactly!  I honestly don’t know how anyone could really argue against that point!”

Socrates:  “So, someone who makes $45,000 should not be allowed to pay zero in taxes?”

John:  “Of course not!  Following our logic, they would be paying way less than their fair share.”

Socrates:  “So, if a group of people make 45% of the total income, they should not have to pay over 70% of the taxes?”

John:  “Obviously not.  Following our logic, they would be paying way more than their fair share.

Socrates:  “So, if there was a tax code that forced people who make up 45% of the total income pay over 70% of the taxes AND allows 47% of income-earners to pay zero taxes, that would not be a fair system?”

John:  “Of course not!  That would be way too far in the other direction, you are trying to make me look like a Radical Communist!”

Socrates:  “So, in that system, you would actually want the rich to pay less and the poor to pay more?”

John:  “I guess, if that system was actually in place, I would be arguing for the rich to pay less and the poor to pay more.”

Socrates:  “But John, the system I just described is the current system in the United States.  I thought you said the rich don’t pay enough today?”

John:  “Well…uh…I…hmmm…”

Socrates:  “True wisdom comes to each of us as we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.”

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About Todd Hagopian (@ToddHagopian)

Todd Hagopian received his BA from Eastern Michigan University with a major in Political Science. After graduation, he worked as a Financial Advisor and a Bank Manager before returning to school. He attended Michigan State University, where he completed an MBA with a double-major in Finance and Marketing. Todd is now a Senior Product Development Manager for a Fortune 500 company. He frequently writes about business issues, social media strategy, and political issues that he finds important. Enjoy the blog!

Posted on March 12, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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