This Commentary addresses two questions raised by Professor Thomas D. Griffith's argument that progressive taxation improves people's subjective well-being by increasing their relative income. First, why do so many people oppose progressivity if it would make them happier? Second, can their opinions be changed in order to enhance their well-being by better aligning attitudes and true self-interests? This Commentary provides a dual-fold answer to the first question—opinion polls often overstate opposition to progressive taxation and much of that opposition is false in the sense that it is caused by ignorance, cognitive bias, and inflammatory rhetoric. After explaining why much opposition would disappear if people better understood progressive taxation, this Commentary then answers the second question affirmatively by proposing a national tax literacy campaign involving the government, media, and private industry. By increasing the public's knowledge of progressive taxation, such a broad-based educational effort would transform many hostile taxpayers into supportive ones and thereby align their attitudes with their self-interest.
Marjorie E. Kornhauser, Educating Ourselves Towards A Progressive (And Happier) Tax: A Commentary On Griffith's Progressive Taxation And Happiness, 45 B.C.L. Rev. 1399 (2004), https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol45/iss5/12