Legally, discrimination does not only refer to overt and explicit discrimination, such as denying a position for the sole reason that the applicant is of a certain color, religion, or sex. Yes, that is illegal, but discrimination extends to all practices that disproportionately affect a certain group.
This is called adverse impact. Adverse impact is defined as “a substantially different rate of selection in hiring, promotion, or other employment decision which works to the disadvantage of members of a race, sex, or ethnic group.”
That is why background checks and IQ tests are losing in popularity in hiring practices. A black person can sue an employer who used background checks, and didn’t hire them. Since a larger percentage of blacks have a criminal background, using background checks of criminal record is legally a form of discrimination towards black people. Employers need to be able to justify their use in court, if need be.
Since women have higher rates of absenteeism than men, documented as early as the 1800s up until now, a woman could sue her potential employer if he requires a flawless absenteeism record in the past.
The bottom line is this: men are over-represented in the highest end of the income distribution, and progressive tax rates affect them disproportionately.
Throughout the world, there is an increasing earnings gap at the top of the distribution. Imagine that the highest tax rate starts at the 8th quantile, a steady 20% to 30% more men than women would be affected. In raw taxes, the gap might be gigantic, like in New-Zealand, where only men have a positive net fiscal contribution.
In essence, progressive tax rates disproportionately affect men, which constitutes the legal definition of discrimination through adverse impact.
Static tax amount: equality
Static tax rate: equity
Progressive tax: inequality
Progressive tax rates make very little ethical sense. But can we seriously expect a movement to protect the rights of rich men?
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