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The Calculus Tax

This being Tax Day and all, I feel like I should repeat my occassional plea to make the tax system more complicated. In short, income tax brackets are a bad idea. The flat tax, of course, is a worse idea. What’s needed is not a flat tax, but a curved tax, where rates are a smooth function of adjusted gross income. The total amount you owe could be calculated as the area beneath the curve — an integral of the function. Back in the day, this was impractical because most people can’t do calculus so the idea of a series of “brackets” was implemented as a mathematically tractable alternative. Thanks to computers, however, this is no longer a problem and calculating taxes owed according to a single function would be simple even if the function itself was very complicated.

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