Should America have a flat tax?


Fact Box

  • According to Britannica, a 'flat tax' is 'a tax system that applies a single tax rate to all levels of income. It has been proposed as a replacement of the federal income tax in the United States, which was based on a system of progressive tax rates in which the percentage of tax taken increases as income rises.'
  • As per 2022 IRS guidelines, the top tax rate 'for individual single taxpayers with incomes greater than $539,900' is 37%, while the lowest tax rate for 'individuals with incomes of $10,275 or less' is 10%.
  • In 2019, the Pew Research Center reported that 62% of Americans view the federal tax system as either 'not too fair' or 'not at all fair.'
  • Based on 'size-adjusted household income,' Pew Research Center revealed that in 2016, 52% of American adults were 'middle class,' while 29% were 'lower class,' and 19% were 'upper class.' 
  • According to analysis by, in 2019, “The top 50 percent of all taxpayers paid 97 percent of all individual income taxes, while the bottom 50 percent paid the remaining 3 percent.”

Madison (No)

America instituting a flat tax rate would harm the economy and, ultimately, American citizens' financial prospects. The Federal Government currently has a progressive tax system in place, in which lower-income households pay less toward taxes than higher-income families do. But, a flat tax, where everyone pays taxes at the same rate, has been proposed as a new federal tax system--something that, for various reasons, is not in the nation's best interest. 

A federal flat tax would be detrimental to lower and middle-class citizens because they would be taxed based on income, not investments. In comparison, it would be fantastic for those in the upper class who are willing to take advantage of America's infrastructure in any way they can. As is, the existence of billionaires harms the economy because any money being hoarded leads to less money in circulation. Allowing the richest to pay fewer taxes would further dissipate the middle class.

A flat tax would also raise the lower-income tax bracket while reducing the upper-class tax bracket, making it harder for lower-income households to survive. An integral part of the American Dream is that everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive, with many turning to entrepreneurship to achieve it. However, with a flat tax, the barrier for starting a business is significantly higher for lower-income citizens, as it makes small businesses pay proportionally more and prevents people from working out of poverty. Instituting flat taxes, therefore, would lead to a caste-like system in which it is nearly impossible to move upwards.

Successful capitalism hinges on customer buying power, competition, and economic mobility. Flat taxes would diminish all of these, which is why America should stick with its progressive tax system.

Elliot (Yes)

A flat tax makes sense for a variety of reasons. First of all, current tax brackets may actively discourage people from reaching for higher incomes, as some feel like it's not worth earning $10,000 more during a given year if it results in having to pay out more in taxes. This can slow economic growth while promoting a sense of lethargy among workers, independent contractors, and business owners. 

A flat tax is also inherently fair. If everyone faces the same tax rate, there will be less division and resentment between classes. It's clear that there is already a massive class divide in the United States, and the last thing we need is more division. A flat tax rate could bring the middle and working classes together--uniting them against the 'one percent.' 

We also know that the one percent can use a multitude of strategies to avoid taxes. From off-shore bank accounts and 'charity' to clever corporate schemes, the ultra-rich don't really have to pay high tax rates if they don't want to. So, in the end, the only people who truly bear the burden of higher tax rates are middle-class Americans--a group that is steadily shrinking with each passing year. A flat tax rate would encourage all Americans to pay their fair share--both the 'have-yachts' and the 'have-nots.'

Finally, a flat tax rate would also simplify the overall tax-collecting process. Americans filing tax returns wouldn't necessarily need to hire accountants and financial advisors to figure out the best loopholes to exploit. In turn, government agencies also wouldn't need to work as hard to find out who's been dodging their tax bills. 

A flat tax rate is the fairest and easiest option for Americans.

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