The claim Posner seems to be making (a claim of value) is that federal taxes should not be used to support economically non-productive groups – the retired elderly is his example. If we accept his claim of value as something we should all want, then we should include all non-productive groups, which would include the disabled (including veterans), the imprisoned, children, the mentally ill, and the unemployed. It would also follow logically that federal aid should be distributed in proportion to the level of economic productivity of groups. Thus those in the service industry, for example, should receive the least benefit (if any) from federal taxes. A stratified hierarchy is thus created.
We encourage Becker and Posner to tune in to Professor Wolff’s (UCL Philosophy) discussion here. From his summary: “…those who leave school early are more likely to end up in physically demanding work, and may well develop physical health problems during the course of his or her working life. Accordingly, retirement, when it eventually comes, may be lived in poor health and for a much shorter period than those who start later in less physically demanding jobs. It may also be, then, that our current retirement policies contribute to the social gradient in health and life expectancy.”
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