Tall people have many advantages in life, and not just when attending rock
concerts. They earn more money, they’re more likely to become president, they
can take stairs two at a time when they’re in a hurry. It’s not fair. We
should tax them!
Seriously. N Gregory Mankiw, A.B., Ph.D., Robert M. Beren
Professor of Economics at Harvard University, former chairman of the Council
of Economic Advisers, has written a paper
which argues that we should do exactly that, or at least that we should if we
believe in the Nobel-Prize-winning optimal-taxation ideas of William Vickrey
and James Mirrlees.
Our calculations show that a utilitarian social planner should levy a sizeable
tax on height. A tall person making $75,000 should pay about $4,500 more in
taxes than a short person making the same income.
To which Arnold Kling responds:
At first glance, this seems silly. On further reflection, it also seems silly.
Me? Well, I’m biased. I’m six foot two.