Taxing the Rich Means More Happiness for All, Study Finds

Our neighbors to the north and across the pond who live under more progressive tax policies may see income taxes that are higher than ours, but does that make their lives worse?

Not when they have good social services and don't have to worry as much as we do about their countrymen and women starving or being left without insurance.

In fact, a new study has found that these progressive tax policies actually lead to more happiness in societies.

From Good magazine's Cord Jefferson: 

Using Gallup numbers from 2007, University of Virginia psychologist Shigehiro Oishi looked into the relationship between tax systems and quality-of-life polling in 54 nations. He discovered a direct correlation between a country's tax progressiveness and its happiness: On average, people taxed under the most progressive rates were more likely than anyone else to evaluate their lives as "the best possible." They also reported having more enjoyable daily experiences, and fewer negative ones. 
Obviously people don't become happy because you tax them more. Rather, it appears that the public services provided by their taxes is what's really behind their joy. 

Indeed. I've also often wondered whether some of this happiness gap comes from just knowing that many of the social problems that affect us here due to lack of social services won't affect their friends and relatives.

With universal health care and good public education, for instance, you're not worrying about whether your colleague's broken arm will cost him his job, or whether your friend will be able to send his kids to college, for instance--not to mention lacking those same worries about yourself and your own family. When decent wages, hours and services isn't posited as a zero sum game or a competition but rather as a universal right, it might help foster healthier social relationships, too.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at September 15, 2011, 3:19am

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