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Who ya’ gonna tax?

by Michael Nielsen on November 26, 2003

Iím sure this has been discussed to death in some circles, but my fiancť Jennifer and I had an interesting idea in conversation recently: a taxation system progressive with age, so that young people pay substantially less of their income as tax.

Politically, itís difficult to imagine this happening, with the aging population. But adopting such a system might provide substantial help to people just getting on their feet. And it might fly as a way of helping people’s kids get ahead.

Another, possibly better and more politically viable variant, would have the tax rate rise gradually until a few years before retirement, and then plummet.

Of course, arguably the effect of the existing progressive system is not that different from these proposals. But my naive first take finds a combined system (progressive with both age and income) rather attractive. It would give a leg up both to people who are younger, and to people who are having trouble make ends meet. Both goals seem worthwhile to me.

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