The Progressive Income Tax

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James Kroeger, Economist

I do not object to being referred to as an Economist in spite of the fact that I do not have a Ph.D. in Economics, primarily because (A) I do have a Master of Arts Degree in Economics, (B) I have studied economic theory at the Ph. D. level, (C) I have taught economics classes to college students, and (D) I have put together some original theoretical arguments on a number of economic topics that I believe are superior to those you will find in almost any economics textbook used in college classrooms today.

My contributions to economic thought are different from those found in economic journals, primarily because my arguments are informed by the analytical perspective I developed as a philosopher, prior to the time when I decided to pursue an advanced degree in economics. The philosopher in me does not question the mathematics that academic economists love to emphasize; I merely question the assumptions upon which many economic theorists build their models, the weighting they assign to the particular economic variables they have identified, and whether or not their models tell us anything significant re: the REAL ECONOMY.

If I were to point to the one Analytical Sin that I think economic theorists are most frequently guilty of, it is their general failure to recognize that the REAL ECONOMY is the only thing that matters when it comes to economic policy recommendations. They spend far too much of their time focusing on money flows, the concerns of the Financial Services sector of the economy, something called "equilibrium", and not enough time on describing what the REAL ECONOMY would look like if it functioned optimally for the benefit of average folks.

I must say that I am also frankly stunned by the number of times that professional economists are guilty of making policy recommendations that are fatally flawed by the Fallacy of Composition. It is nearly always true that a particular economic behavior (or "blessing") that benefits a single economic agent when very few others behave the same way (or enjoy the same blessing) will NOT benefit all economic agents if all of them behave the same way (or experience the same "blessing", e.g., a tax cut). This is a theme that I visit repeatedly in the various economic essays I have put on this website.

Of course, none of my reasons for writing on economic topics is likely to be persuasive to the vast majority of academic economists, who are typically more concerned about "club membership issues" than they are about economic theory. Let it be known that I am quite aware of the risk that I take in presenting my ideas as worthy of their attention. After all, most members of that exclusive club have been trained (through the example of their predecessors) to cast aspersions on any "pretenders" out there who have not been properly admitted into their select company.

Why, then, am I willing to risk becoming a target of their deprecations? It is because I am aware of the risk that one takes when speaking out that I have spent many years questioning myself, questioning the arguments I have put together, looking for the flaw that I might have missed the first time I considered it. Since I have no desire to be perceived a fool, I have spent a great deal of time questioning not just my assumptions, but also my motivation.

One consequence of this habit of self-criticism over a number of years is I can now articulate a number of "explanations" that I have a lot of confidence in. If, in spite of my self-critiques, it is revealed to me that I have made some mistakes in my analysis, then I will be delighted by the news, for my only goal has only ever been to arrive at The Ultimate Truth. If some individual can help me to see a truth which escaped me previously, then I will be most grateful for the experience, for I will finally understand that which I had always wanted to understand.

It should also be understood that I am not making the bold claim that my analysis is original, but only that I suspect that it may be original, for I have not come across any economic theory by another author that seems to have anticipated my analysis. If this possibility turns out to be true---that my economic arguments are original---then I am glad that I have had a chance to share them. If it is revealed to me that they are not original, then I will certainly give credit to any who might be deserving, and I will still be happy that I have had a chance to share the not-so-original arguments with others in my own way.

James J. Kroeger, Sr.

June, 2011

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James Kroeger, Philosopher