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Flat tax is more fair than progressive tax is

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/11/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 589 times Debate No: 83801
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
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Hello everyone,

I would like to argue that flat tax is more fair towards society as a whole than progressive tax is. Con will argue that, on the contrary, progressive tax is fairer.

Society - An organized group of persons associated together for religious, benevolent, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes.
Fair - Legitimately sought, pursued, done, given, etc.; proper under the rules:
a fair fight.


The definition of "fair" is subjective. As such, a conclusive resolution will likely never be found. Con's mission is to argue why their definition of "fair" is superior to mine. This is purely philosophical (as seen from the category: philosophy rather than economy). Prosperity of the society is irrelevant. References from reality will be disregarded, use the definitions given or your own ideas, general truths, quotes instead, if needed.

The debate is in free form, meaning that statements and rebuttals are mixed in all rounds.

I will start with my opening statement:

As we know, nothing in life is given for free and has to be worked for. Those who work harder/more/smarter receive more, it's a simple concept and a universal truth (most of the time, anyway). "You reap what you sow" as they say.
Now, if we consider the result of our hard work an award for it, then we can deduce that people who work harder deserve to be rewarded more. In a society which practices progressive tax, however, this is not the case. Those who work more are taken from to promote those who don't. I believe such a concept of fairness is inherently false because of a number of reasons:
1) Fairness =/= equality.
Frankly, people are born unequal. If one man works harder to survive the winter and the other one doesn't then that's just Darwinism. If we convert this metaphor into a society - if one man spends more time working/studying to reach a desirable position then he deserves to be awarded more.
2) Equal opportunities
Although people aren't equal, we are (and should be) given equal opportunities to succeed in a society. It's not like people in progressive tax are deliberately handicapped to perform worse. Everyone is given the freedom and rights to succeed in their own right.
3) Treating people equally
If we want to give people equal rights and treatment then we should all receive the same % of taxes regardless of the salary. In fact, if we didn't know people's salaries progressive tax would not even be a thing. The fact that we tax by % means that those who make more still have to pay more away.
4) Diminishment of labour
Not to be mistaken with how this affects the prosperity of a society. Diminishment of labour is also inherently unfair as those who work less are fundamentally favoured due to the fact that they have to pay less taxes by %.


When it comes to the individual I do believe flat tax is completely more fair than progressive tax. When we talk society though, progressive tax is more fair.

We are not all born equal and there is diversity in every society, we all come from different backgrounds and have different interest and in many jobs gender is a huge hurdle. If we lived in a perfect world where our work ethic alone determined our "status" flat tax would ideal, but we do not.

So if we were to take work ethic out of the question, again if we were talking about individually, I would agree flat tax is more fair, but in this case progressive tax is more fair because it creates a better society for the whole. The biggest different between a flat tax and progressive tax is determining what is a reasonable % a person should have to contribute. With a flat tax we are forced to look at the lowest income within the society to find that number, with progressive tax we are able to take like people and group them together to better the society.
Debate Round No. 1


Even though a society is a group of people working towards a mutual goal, you can't treat it as a single unit. Some people in that society work more, some work less, which means they deserve to be rewarded respectively. By saying that progressive tax is more fair on the basis that it's more fair for the whole you're forgetting the fact that a society still consists of individuals, it's the fundement of a society and you can't just ignore that.

Secondly, I already said that the prosperity of a society is not under question in this debate, so your argument of progressive tax creating a "better" society is irrelevant and besides the point. I'm arguing that EVEN IF progressive tax is "better" it's simply more unfair as you're essentially taking from those who do and giving to those who don't (this is just one point of my whole plea).


Working harder/smarter only goes so far, we as people are different, we have different ability's, different interest and different talents. The #1 professional women basketball player no matter how hard she works will not make even close to the worst men professional player (WNBA max salary $105,000 , NBA Min salary $507,336). No matter how smart a person is there job dictates what they will/can earn.

I pose these questions. Is a doctor automatically smarter because they earn more then a teacher? Is it fair to expect everyone to be a doctor? Do men and women working in the same job earn the same? you can argue that most of the time they do, but if it is not 100% percent of the time is that fair?

If a person works there butt off as a stocker at a dept. store working the hardest that they can, working as many hours as possible, should they earn more then a lawyer who slacks at there job? do they earn more? I think not, is that fair? You may say well the lawyer made a smarter choice in becoming a lawyer, but then I ask again should we all try to become lawyers?

I argue that fair is about giving everybody a fair fight, and to do that you have to match people who are similar a 7 foot tall man in a fist fight with a 5 foot tall women I would argue is not fair. Asking a teacher to pay the same amount of tax as a doctor is not fair, to say it is, is to say that if a teacher works just as hard and as smart as a doctor they will earn the same, but there is no proof to that and if that is not happening universally then how can it be fair.

Until society says that for sure you will be rewarded for how hard you work no matter what you do, you can not say a flat tax is more fair. Society decides what a job is worth, if we as a society paid more attention to women basketball maybe they would make the same as a man. Until society as we know it changes we have to base what is fair on what we have. What we have right now is a society that says a doctor earns up here, and a teacher earns down here no matter the work ethic, no matter how smart the individual is. So what is fair is for doctors to have a tax % that is up here and for teachers to have a % that is down here and that is progressive tax.
Debate Round No. 2


The example of the NBA players is specious because it applies to every aspect of life. It's not only the NBA players but also doctors and teachers like you brought up. Every person has a different job that dictates their salary but that's just the inevitable reality, flat tax is not to blame here as with progressive tax it would exactly the same.

I am unable to answer your question directly as it is somewhat misleading. I do not believe that a doctor is inherently "smarter" than a teacher BUT they have spent more time studying. Some doctors spend over 10 years acquiring their qualifications to work in their position whereas a teacher just has to complete the teacher certification program and they're good to go. The reason why doctors are paid so much is because there are so few of them, as it is with every other profession. Rest assured that if everyone was a doctor or a lawyer (your example) then the rarer labour would pay more, a teacher for instance.
Here is a picture that explains supply and demand of labour more simply:

The same applies to the store worker and the lawyer. Anyone can be a store worker (well, almost anyone) but it takes time to become a lawyer. Why would anyone spend countless years of their lives just to make slightly more than someone who didn't? Count in the years spent in university when the store worker can already start making a salary. Long story short, there NEEDS to be a reward for hard work and by hard work I mean university because a university doesn't pay, on the contrary it costs you which means a lot of people need to work and study at the same time. But this applies to everything, achieving a higher quantity of labour should result in a higher salary in my view.

The difference between a 7 foot tall man and a 5 foot tall woman. Let me put it this way, if YOU were the employer and YOU had to choose the salary of your workers, would you share it evenly or give more to those who are more efficient? Yes, men are born stronger, faster and frankly smarter, it's the harsh inevitable reality. Let's not be so naive to think that we can reward people for equal efforts but unequal results. Even though it sounds very noble theoretically, it is impossible to achieve. Anyway, I already touched the equality issue in my opening statement.

A doctor and a teacher don't pay the same amount of taxes, they merely give the same amount of % away from their total salary, which is completely different.

Flat tax is fair towards everyone because everyone's efforst are rewarded. In progressive tax the lower paying jobs are favoured due to the fact they simply have to play less taxes. Let me ask you this: why would someone even want to be a member of a society when their hard work and talent are not being recognised?


"The example of the NBA players is specious because it applies to every aspect of life. It's not only the NBA players but also doctors and teachers like you brought up. Every person has a different job that dictates their salary but that's just the inevitable reality, flat tax is not to blame here as with progressive tax it would exactly the same."

My argument is Why is it fair "the inevitable reality" for my job to dictate my salary but not the percentage of tax that I pay. In other words why is it OK "fair" to say person A will make 10,000 a year for there job and person B will make 50,000, but not OK "fair" to say person A will be responsible for 2% tax on that 10,000 and person B 5% on the 50,000. The only reply I seem to gather is that You may argue that person B worked harder/smart then person A and they should not have to pay "more" tax then person A and instead be rewarded for there hard work. I believe your answer or reply to my question shows that work ethic has little to nothing to do with how much we earn, supply and demand as you pointed out is a much bigger factor, so who is to say that person A is not smarter or a harder worker then person B, maybe person A just just not in demand at the moment.

The reason I believe progressive tax is more fair is because it is based on the world as we know it and live it. We are not created equal, we have different taste and desires, and we are apart of societies that have many different needs, just as doctors Can be in high demand today McDonald's workers can be in high demand tomorrow. For flat tax to be more fair I believe it has to be one hundred percent true that each and everyone is on an equal playing field and that your work ethic alone determines what your are worth and what you should be rewarded. But again as pointed out in response to my question we see that this is not the case.

"Flat tax is fair towards everyone because everyone's efforst are rewarded. In progressive tax the lower paying jobs are favoured due to the fact they simply have to play less taxes."

This made me laugh a bit. I do not think you could ever find one person who would prefer a lower paying job to a high paying one because of taxes, at the end of the day the person with the higher paying job is still coming home with more money, so to say that with progressive tax people would choose a lower paying job because of taxes is comical.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by canis 10 months ago
Fair does not exist...
Posted by Stensson 10 months ago
Thanks a lot, Romanii. I hope I didn't offend you with the Mr.Robot thing, it was just a hyperbole.
Best of luck in your future endeavours!
Posted by Romanii 10 months ago
Nice to see that you didn't leave.
I think this is a good way of phrasing the resolution to avoid encountering the problem you did in our debate.

Anyways, I'm not really interested in a debate like this atm, but I hope you get a decent opponent. Good luck!
Posted by Stensson 10 months ago
I am aware that in the way societies work in reality progressive tax has its merits (although I'm still a proponent of flat tax). I'm merely arguing that from a philosophical standpoint flat tax is fairer. I also believe that this is also a reason why flat tax should be the only form of tax at all, overruling the economical benefits that progressive tax MAY provide as they are irrelevant because they are simply not fair.

Despite this, I still decided to leave reality out of the debate as I'm not really interested in arguing against a Mr.Robot who slams facts and completely disregards the philosophy, (which is required in a strong society) thus denying me an intellectual discussion (I'm selfish).

Just to clarify, anyway, good luck Con!
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