The question whether life is fair is very different from the question whether a given society’s rules are fair.

[T]he question whether life is fair is very different from the question whether a given society’s rules are fair. Society’s rules can be fair in the sense of using the same standards of rewards and punishments for everyone. But that barely scratches the surface of making prospects or outcomes the same.

Four years ago, TV interviewer Charles Gibson pointed out to candidate Barack Obama that raising capital gains tax rates had on a number of occasions led to less capital gains tax revenue being collected — and, conversely, lowering the capital gains tax rates had on other occasions increased the amount of capital gains revenue collected by the government.

Obama readily admitted that. But he said that “fairness” justified a higher tax rate on “the rich.” Yet how does a higher tax rate on paper, without a real increase in the amount of taxes actually collected, promote fairness? ┬áThomas Sowell, February 22, 2012