It a question of the nature of earning. You earn GPA based on the exact same requirement as anyone else and the reward is depends on the work you put in the fill these requirement. The higher reward goes to those who work the harder and it would be fair to take that away from them.Now onto money, you cannot compare money to GPA because no matter how hard, how much and how well you work as a construction worker, you will never make as much as some who work in finance. And although you could say that the construction worker should have worked harder in high school, gone to college while working to pay his tuition and get better paying job, well :1. some people aren't just born with the brains to get through college, even high school in some cases.2. every single person in america applied your recommendations and went to college. Who the f**k would be building your houses ?

Some people are just born with an intellectual and/or financial advantage in life. They never had to work for that, they are born with it. It is only justice that, if these people use those gifts properly, they should get better paying jobs. Nobody can question that. But wouldn't be fair if these people also accepted the fact the some other are just killing themselves in working low paying jobs and could get a little share of the luck they never had to start with ?

Chase the lazies and the profiteers, not the generosity and justice of more and better redistribution !

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You should also poll how much each individual student is working to contribute to the cost of their own tuiition. I bet the students who are working regularly to pay for their tuition understand what's at stake and are less willing to part with their gpa.....The students who are there on someone else's "dime" will just continue with that mindset. Unless their parents are rich from hard work and have already instilled the value of smart hard work and it's payoff.

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Fantastic video and point. The mindless hypocrisy of some of these people is LAUGHABLE. Well, it "would" be laughable if it wasn't such a serious negative to our society.

Penalizing performance and offering rewards for failure is the point and it's EXACTLY the same thing with GPA as it is money.

I'm not surprised that these morons don't support the attack on THEIR HARD WORK. IDIOTS!

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This last post has FINALLY hit on a key point overlooked by the hundreds of earlier posts in regard to the "hypocrisy" element of this discussion.

There is a hidden assumption in the hypocrisy argument, namely that college students base their espousal of redistributive taxation on popular (or once popular?) academic theories such as those of John Rawls, to the effect that ALL results in life are unearned and undeserved. Until the latest post, none of the posters has used a strong form of that argument; most have used a much weaker form in which success in GPA is held to be much more deserved than success in income.

One who professes to hold a strong Rawlsian position and has a higher than average GPA would clearly be hypocritical in wishing to redistribute income but not GPA (from which s/he derives prestige) because in the Rawlsian account s/he does not deserve greater prestige than other people. Only if (as Rawls himself wished were true, save for the minimum incentives necessary to have people pursue careers in a way that advantages the lowest income-earners) high GPA occupations had no greater prestige and other amenities than garbage collectors would GPA be solely an indication of job aptitude and not a goodie to be undeservedly enjoyed (like money).

Since almost all the posters base their arguments for income redistribution on marginal utility and other non-Rawlesian concepts, they are rightly puzzled by the charge of hypocrisy. Although there may be a sort of low-level hypocrisy involved in the convenient assumption that the rewards they get for doing stuff they're good at (success in academics) just happen to be more deserved than the rewards other folks get for doing stuff they're good at (financial success in careers), and therefore the latter, but not the former, should be subject to partial confiscation.

Where most of these posters fail to provide a persuasive basis for their beliefs, by the way, is that once having advanced a refutation of flat taxation by arguing, in essence, "counterbalancing the partially valid anti-Rawlesian argument that people deserve to keep a substantial portion of what they earn are the needs of society for common goods, considerations of marginal utility, etc etc," they are lost for an explanation of exactly why they believe that the tax brackets they favor optimally balance the countervailing arguments they have identified, while current tax brackets don't optimally balance them. Instead of a calm, fact-based, measured analysis from our posters, the only voices we hear from their side (though not from them themselves) are shrill accusations of callousness and immorality.

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Right, you've made a flawed analogy - grade points are an indicator of performance, money's a reward for performance.

People intuitively understand it's flawed but when put on the spot, in front of camera, can't quite put their finger on. Well done big fellow, aren't you a bright chap...

Moving on to your closing message - the richest 10% of yanks pay 50% of tax or some such: IS THAT FAIR? The implication being, I presume, that it's not, because the richest 10% deserve to get paid what they do.

This is a prime example of a pet hate of mine - the (particularly American?) world view, linking capitalism with morality. Which suggests that people deserve what they earn.

For many reasons they don't. The three simplest being - not everyone starts from the same position and that a capitalist economy, while more efficient and providing greater degree of personal freedom than other systems, has very little to do with a fair reward being paid. For example, if your in charge of a bunch lot of people, your decisions will have a big affect on the total income of said people. So, in a market economy your worth a lot. At the same time, you couldn't be making that money if you didn't have people to be in charge of. So it's really totally subjective whether what you get paid is fair.

In short, you don't necessarily deserve what you earn, or earn what you deserve.

Excuse the rant....

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I believe this blog has a complete response the videohref="http://www.economist.com/bl...">yesweshould

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I feel like a big difference is that money is a zero-sum game while GPA/Academics is a non-zero-sum game

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But we aren't discussing money generically, we're talking redistribution of tax revenue from taxable income, which includes both earned income and unearned income.

Certainly earned income is society's way of measuring the economic value of the work one performs. You have to understand Adam Smith's view of free markets and the social good that comes from decentralized decision making, e.g., the freedom to make one's own decisions instead of having some Grand Bureaucrat telling you what you should have and what you shouldn't have.

The analogy for unearned income is a bit more attenuated, but can be thought of as the benefits one receives from one's antecedents via genetics and social environment, like IQ, access to good schools, having a "Tiger Mom".

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What world are you living in? Grades are already massively redistributed at the university level. (Apologies if another comment already made the same point.) At most universities, there's a huge pressure on professors from the administration to give grades no one will complain about, in other words, good ones.

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GPA is used as a signal by employers

Really? You've known employers who ask/care about the GPA of applicants? I've never heard of such a thing.

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A comparable proposal for GPA might be that you would take the square root of everybody’s GPA, pushing it closer to one for everybody, but preserving rank order. Students would be no more or less likely to get into med school, or whatever, after such a change. Nobody should really care about this change one way or another, except inasmuch as it would be sort of a pain in the ass to implement.

Err... am I the only one who's been a grad student TA and had to do exactly that? 1.5 stddevs above the mean gets an A, 1 above gets a B, at the mean gets a C, 1 stddev below gets a D, and 1.5 below fails. That's exactly what you're talking about and it happens in colleges and universities every day -- no distinction is made between the student who aced the test and the student who had to drag himself to the top of the distribution by his fingernails, as long as they're both at the top.

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Two words, curved grading

How hard was that? Is complete and utter lack of self awareness a prerequisite for conservative thinking?

I mean, surely you've encounter the concept in an academic setting. It basically devalues the grades of the top performers. But we still try to fit a bell curve because we recognize that the classroom isn't a perfect measure of academic ability and that groups of people don't differ by very much.

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Wow, what a bunch of libertarian/conservative nonsense. I hate to add a political bent to it, but this is just a terrible analogy.

People's GPA is a matter of their own choices - of what school they choose to go to, what classes they choose to take, and how hard they choose to work. Some people can't naturally get a high GPA, but it was probably their fault for choosing their subject and choosing to go to a party instead of a library. However, for those people, chances are, their GPA doesn't even matter. For most jobs require a college degree, employers only want the sheepskin. It is only for grad school applicants that GPA particularly matters.

On the other hand, money is none of those things. Having a low GPA doesn't prevent you from raising it later, but having a low income is going to hinder you from raising it. A lot of things other than choice depend on how much income you make. And finally, rather than just mattering for grad school, money determines more things in life. A lot more things.

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Under the standard academic model the average GPA is 2.0 and the maximum GPA is 4.0. The average income is not five trillion per year.

Still false equivalence.

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The analogy is flawed for lots of reasons, but the main one I see is that the argument seems to be based on the premise that we should be doing in society something closer to what we do in schools.

Well, here's what we do in schools. We distribute resources where they are needed the most. Those students with lower GPAs are those most likely to need and be directed to things like tutoring services, they're the ones that require the most additional work from the teachers, etc. This is as it should be. Just as those who are most in need in society should be the ones to get the most help from those institutions most able to help them (I'm thinking of the government here).

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"the top 10% income earners pay 50% of the taxes???Wait, I have to review that ignorant statement to be sure that's what this person is saying....yup that's his penurious, picayune point! Well, income distribution has 0 to do with taxes in an analysis of income distribution. 30% of 250,000 to 1,000,000 is unequivocably more more than 30% of 15.000.But 50 billion gross that yields taxes less than 30% of 150,000 is proof that income is a bogus criterion of assesment of value (or utility) except as is necessary for the maintainance of ststus quo.

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