Considerations of fairness have no direct bearing on the issue of progressivity in tax rates; there is no genuine issue of vertical equity. Whether a proportional, progressive, or a regressive tax rate scheme is to be preferred on ethical grounds depends upon the justice of the outcomes the different schemes tend to promote. It is clear that this instrumental question requires a good deal of empirical information for its answer. While it is often claimed that high marginal tax rates greatly deter work (which is bad according to most theories of justice), this is not the consensus among economists.
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