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Progressive tax system associated with greater happiness: study

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The more progressive a tax system — where higher tax brackets have higher tax rates — the more likely people are to report feeling they live the “best possible life,” according to a new study comparing 54 nations.

“The more progressive the tax policy is, the happier the citizens are,” said University of Virginia psychologist Shigehiro Oishi, the lead author of the study.

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The study analyzed a total of 59,634 people surveyed by the Gallup Organization in 2007 and found those living in the nations with the most progressive taxation evaluated their own quality of life higher than those living in nations with flatter taxation.

That happiness, according to Oishi, was “explained by a greater degree of satisfaction with the public goods, such as housing, education, and public transportation.”

“If the goal of societies is to make citizens happy, tax policy matters,” he said. “Certain policies, like tax progressivity, seem to be more conducive to the happiness of the people.”

Surprisingly, even though people’s quality of life was associated with their satisfaction with state-funded services, higher government spending did not yield greater happiness.

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“That data is kind of weird,” Oishi said. He theorized that this result may be because some nations spend their money more effectively than others, noting that the U.S. spends more on education and health care than other developed countries, yet has a lower international standing in those areas.

Oishi’s study will be published in the next issue of the peer-reviewed journal Psychological Science. It was co-authored by Ulrich Schimmack of the University of Toronto at Mississauga and Ed Diener of the University of Illinois.

The study followed up on a previous study conducted by Oishi that analyzed 48,000 respondents over 37 years and found income disparity in the U.S. was associated with unhappiness — except for the richest 20 percent.

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“Income disparity has grown a lot in the U.S., especially since the 1980s,” he explained. “With that, we’ve seen a marked drop in life satisfaction and happiness.”

Both studies show only correlations and not causation, meaning the connection between economics and personal satisfaction is unclear. Other factors could have contributed to the differences in self-reported quality of life.

Nevertheless, Oishi concluded: “If we care about the happiness of most people, we need to do something about income inequality.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Wall Street Journal drops a truth-bomb on Trump over his market-destroying trade war: ‘Everyone loses’

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In yet another blast from the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, the editors looked back at Friday's stock market free fall and pointed the finger directly at President Donald Trump and his "trade-war general" Peter Navarro for being the main culprits.

After Friday's disastrous stock market session that took a major downturn due to the escalation of the trade war -- with China and Trump ordering billions of dollars in new tariffs -- the Journal pointed out that there will be no winners.

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G7 off to a rough start as Trump aides slam host Macron’s agenda

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With President Donald Trump at the latest G7 summit, all eyes are on the interactions between him and French President Emmanuel Macron. The two world leaders started off amicably, exchanging pleasantries, but behind the scenes, things have grown contentious.

According to Politico, Trump officials are railing against Macron, accusing him of trying to "fracture" the summit by steering the negotiations away from trade and into areas like climate change.

This development comes after Trump harshly criticized Macron for enacting a tax on digital services, which could increase costs for American tech companies like Google and Facebook. Trump threatened that if France does not suspend its "unfair" digital tax, "we'll be taxing their wine like they've never seen before." It is a threat that Trump has made repeatedly over the last few weeks whenever he has gotten angry at France.

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A likely recession could doom Trump

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President Donald Trump is worried that there will be a recession before the 2020 election. For once, he is right about something.

This article first appeared in Salon.

"The Economy is strong and good, whereas the rest of the world is not doing so well. Despite this the Fake News Media, together with their Partner, the Democrat Party, are working overtime to convince people that we are in, or will soon be going into, a Recession," Trump tweeted on Friday in a clear attempt to assuage concerns. "They are willing to lose their wealth, or a big part of it, just for the possibility of winning the Election. But it won’t work because I always find a way to win, especially for the people!"

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