Do you reflexively disagree with the millionaire surtax because you believe higher-income Americans are already paying their fair share of taxes? Is that your idea or did you inadvertently become a spokesperson for someone?
I think some Boston Business Journal readers recently formed their positions without realizing subtle persuasive sales techniques were being used on them. For better and for worse, they’re used all the time.
I’d like to highlight this statement: The Tax Relief Coalition contends, “the top 1 percent of income tax filers pay 38 percent of all federal income taxes”. (Source: Boston Business Journal)
At first, 1 percent paying 38 percent sounds like more than a fair share. But it also confuses people about something crucial – I think it makes some people think the top 1 percent are already also paying a fair percentage of their adjusted gross income.
38 percent of the total amount (especially because it’s stated as a percentage) seems like a fair amount, or even a generous amount, for the 1 percent to pay. Yet, it also persuades one to focus on the total paid (stated as a percentage) too much.
I’m not sure whether people should be in favor of the tax or not. But don’t forget Buffett’s argument and please don’t exclude net worth from the discussion of what’s fair. Also, look at other sources, consider people’s motives and initially don’t take any one source too seriously when forming your opinions.
If the Tax Relief Coalition wants advice on persuading more effectively, they should call Chevalier Consulting Group at 617.939.0139.