Tax the Rich: Studying our Tax Policy and the 1%

Student Author(s)

Matthew Rueping

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Virginia Beard

Document Type


Event Date



Tax collection is a necessary part of a functioning political entity. Yet there are debates about who should be taxed, who should pay more in taxation, and how tax policies can best be arranged to benefit society with the public goods tax money provides. This paper investigates ideas regarding the taxation of the “top one percent” of income earners in the United States. There has been a notion in the past few years that taxing the rich at increasingly higher rates will help to improve the financial situations of people in lower income brackets. In other words, there is a potentially high level of support for a taxation system built around the policy idea of redistribution. Proponents of a redistributive tax system often frame it as being more “fair,” a notion I will evaluate as part of my research. What exactly is fair? Furthermore, how does a policy creator determine the level at which to draw the line for each tax level? Who determines when a citizen is “rich enough” to warrant higher levels of taxation? Furthermore, does a “fair” system necessarily lead to a situation that is best for the American economy? I will be researching accelerated tax rates and their effect on the economy and median income of each socio-economic class. These are difficult questions to answer because they encompass moral, economic, and political issues. I aim to answer some of these questions to generate better understanding regarding tax policy and to evaluate what is effective and what is not.

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