Taxing your genes

October 27, 2008

might be the logical application of the “ability-to-pay” principle in a technologically advanced society.

[W]e consider how progress in genetics – specifically, the proliferation of knowledge about the human genome – may influence the feasibility and  desirability of a tax that is based on individual human endowments, or, to use the economist’s preferred term, a tax based on ability.

Too scary for me to read right now, but you can find the paper here.  I hope it turns out to be an Onion satire, but I’m afraid it probably isn’t.

From the U of Michigan Office of Tax Policy Research.


One comment

  1. When I was studying at the Henry George birthplace in Philadelphia, PA the county instituted an occupation tax which varied with the profession you worked in. At the same time I was struggling to extend George’s ideas beyond the very careful limits he had set. One such consideration was that although a person in their active role in production is labor, in another sense they partake of the nature of land in their passive role (including the acquisition of skill in the very act of performing their job). One of the extension that immediately came to mind was that instead of an occupation tax we should assess an individuals genetic heritage (inherent abilities) and apply a tax on that estimate of potential. This would surely motivate all those under achievers out there.

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