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Re the new Buffett op ed, you say "We need to get the idea of “fairness” out of the debate. Instead, we should look at how much money we need and what is the most efficient and responsible way of raising it is. “Fair” is always subjective and can never be achieved to the satisfaction of all."

I disagree.

Most people regard fairness as a subjective concept, but it needn't be such. Let's take a very simple example:

2 people want to divide a pie between them fairly, but they can't agree on a 3rd person to do so. What do they do? They agree that one of them will divide the pie into 2 pieces, and the other of them gets first choice to claim 1 of the pieces. Because the divider doesn't know which piece s/he'll be able to claim, her/his incentive is to divide the pie as equally as possible. This will lead to equal pieces for both, which all would agree is a fair result.

Generalizing from this, a fair procedure could be defined as a process which produces outcomes when the participants don't know ahead of time which outcome will be theirs. This is the essence of the concept of fairness described in "A Theory of Justice", by John Rawls.

Applying this concept in the context of creating a fair tax system wouldn't be easy, because the deciders couldn't be trusted to ignore their individual financial situations, but their biases could be offset by ensuring that the deciders include individuals from a broad range of financial circumstances.
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