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Harry Reid Lectures on Fairness Tax

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Harry Reid gave a speech during the debt debate on the Senate floor designed to placate Democrats that were upset over the outcome of the debt ceiling vote.

In the speech, Reid stressed some words that I find interesting. One was  “fairness”. He used “fair” or a derivative of the word at least ten times. He also said it was the role of government to create jobs.


What’s fair exactly? Fair is different depending on the individual. Economics professors call it “normative” economics. Normative economics places value judgments on policy. Those judgments are subject to change. In cases of income, you might call it the politics of envy.

Here is an example: How much is enough money? Depending on who you ask, and which geographical location, you will get a range of answers.

Pollsters have determined $250,000 per year is a lot of money to most of the public, and this is why Obama hammers on that number.

Here is another one: What’s a correct hourly wage? That all depends on a lot of factors. It’s subjective.

The bulk of government policies are all subjective. The government likes to pick and choose winners and losers. The power then doesn’t reside in the market, but with a person in a position of authority.

Contrast that with what’s known as “positive economics”. Positive economics are concepts that can be quantified and proven, just like a scientific method. Everyone meets the same minimum standard.

Here is an example: Raising the minimum wage increases unemployment.

This can be shown graphically:

And it can be shown anecdotally that raising the minimum wage creates unemployment.


It’s a simple statement of fact.

That’s why the only way to have a fair tax code is to set some standard, and have everyone regardless of income, class, gender, marital status or any other category you want to include, meet the same standard. A flat tax is ideal.

Is it fair to tax billionaires more than anyone else? Who creates more jobs, billionaires or government?

I’ll give you a hint. You elect them with your pocketbook.

Who should pay more in taxes, Steve Jobs or a minimum wage worker? Is that fair? Even if they paid the same rate, Steve Jobs would pay far more in tax than the minimum wage worker. Jobs, through all his companies, creates far more jobs in an hour than one minimum wage worker will create in their lifetime.

Governments doesn’t create jobs. But they can facilitate- or retard- the creation of jobs by the private sector.

The government can create more jobs with flat taxes, low regulation, and by simply staying out of the way. As President Reagan said, the worst words you could hear are, “I am from the government and I am here to help.”

If Democrats and some Republicans were truly worried about creating jobs, they would strip out all the horribly toxic regulation we have today and amend the tax code like this: End all subsidies and write offs, and tax everyone the same at a flat 15%.


You’d see jobs created like you’ve never dreamed of.

And with all the economic growth, government coffers would be over-flowing.

Now that would be fair.

A lot of people would get a chance to be a millionaire just like Harry Reid.

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