“pay their fair share”

Fair Share

“The rich should pay their fair share.”

Used by: Liberals/Progressives/Economic Left

Rhetoric type: Appeal to Envy, False Assumption, Stereotyping

Possible retorts: How much is a fair share by dollar amount or percentage?

Who doesn’t want everyone to pay their fair share, especially when it seems people aren’t? And what if those people who aren’t were much, much more capable to pay their fair share than you?

Of course, you pay your fair share. It’s always someone else who doesn’t. And from a political standpoint, that someone else is usually wealthy, a business owner, and/or some kind of heir to a fortune. You know, the kind of person that is easy to envy. But is envy enough to make taxing the rich just and right?

The phrase “the rich must pay their fair share” makes some rather bold assumptions without an attempt to clarify. Some questions arise:

  • How do we know the rich aren’t paying their fair share?
  • What is one’s fair share? Can it be quantified as a figure or a percentage? At what point is one’s fair share deemed satisfied?
  • To whom is one’s fair share owed, and for what?
  • Does one’s fair share include wealth grown through and currently tied up in investments previously legislated as tax-deferred, like a standard Individual Retirement Account? Will the terms of the deferment be honored? How about tax-free systems like a Roth IRA – will that be honored?