Marginal Tax Rate Jokes and the Babies Who Love Them

–From Heather Antonsen, Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law (Nova Scotia), Date of event: September 2002

I was just entering my third year and my son was only three weeks old. We attended class together. In a final desperate act, I plugged in a baby monitor behind the professors so my son and I could sit outside the class and listen to the lectures. It was on one of these days that Professor Deturbide, a truly gifted tax law professor, was gently easing us into the intricacies of the Canadian Income Tax Act. Professor Deturbide made a quip about marginal tax rates. Amazingly, and exactly on cue, my new born Aleks woke up, giggled and promptly went back to sleep.

Amazed but slighted disturbed that my son’s first real laugh was in response to tax humor, I went up on break and recounted the event to our Administrations officer. She responded with, “I imagine that they were probably the only two in a class of sixty who were laughing.”

With that, Professor Deturbide popped around the corner and announced, with a hint of indignation, that his marginal tax rate line just so happens to be one of his better jokes!

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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