A recent article on the implications of filing taxes jointly had an interesting graphic that is fun to discuss with your students.
This visualization has a lot of quantitative information to unpack! I ask them questions such as:
- Why does the vertical axis start at 50-50 and not 0-100?
- In terms of paying taxes, is it better for a married couple without children to have their income split evenly between both people or to have a single earner?
- How is the percentage tax penalty/bonus being computed?
- Why don’t they color the chart according to the absolute $ size of the penalty/bonus? Hint: Compare two different points on the graph with the same percentage penalty/bonus.
What I really like about this article is the reasoning behind the claim that there are 3 possible goals when developing a taxation system, but countries cannot meet all three. Can you figure out why?