Advice on manners and morals.
Feb. 28 1998 3:30 AM

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There are probably some exceptions, but in general rich people do pay more taxes than poor people. Generally Republicans agree that rich people should pay more taxes than poor people. The issue that divides people and parties is how much more the rich should pay.


If A has twice as much income as B, should A pay twice as much tax, or three times as much, or four times as much? That is partly a question of fairness, to which simply saying that the rich should pay more provides no answer. It is also a question of economic efficiency. Beyond some point, taxation of the rich probably reduces incentives to save, invest, innovate, and work, to a degree that is harmful to people who are not rich. But just where that point is no one seems to know.

Why do Republicans generally answer these questions in the direction of lower taxes on the rich more than Democrats generally do? That is one of the main reasons they are Republicans.

Your question also raises the issue of attitudes toward taxation in general. Since Reagan's victory in 1980, many Republicans have come to believe that offering a tax cut for everyone is the sure road to electoral success. That idea now seems to be shared by many Democrats, although it did not seem to work in 1996.

--Prudence, taxonomically

Dear Prudence,

A few years ago I dated a guy, but he moved and it was hard to keep together, so we broke up. About four months later, he died in a fire. Problem is, his younger brother also liked me. A few days ago I saw him for the first time since his brother died, and he still likes me. I kind of like him now, too; he's grown up a lot since the last time I saw him. I just don't know if it would be rude to his brother's memory to date him. I'd appreciate any input.

--Needs Help in Missouri

Dear Needs Help,

You have no problem. Four months would be long enough to mourn this man even if you had been married to him, which you weren't. Preserving and honoring the memory of a deceased loved one does not require you to give up ordinary activities. There is room in the human heart for remembering the dead and living with the living. If you were deeply attached to the older brother, or now think you were, you will not forget him. Your present attraction to the younger brother may be a sign of your appreciation of the characteristics of the older brother, many of which the younger one may share.

--Prudence, consolingly