Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Missing the point

The sometimes reasonable Matt Yglesias tweets that "we can incentivize savings without huge giveaways to rich people". Over at Slate, the rarely reliable Dan Gross opines that people making over $250K can afford a tax hike. Over at Econospeak the title is "Tax increases on the rich will not greatly reduce aggregate demand".

All of this is so strange. How is not raising someone's taxes a "huge giveaway"? Who is "we" exactly? Since when is whether someone can afford it the rule for choosing how much to tax (well, I'm given to believe that's how taxes were collected back in the middle ages)? How is the fact that a person may not do exactly what 1960s Keynesian economics wants them to do with their money grounds for taking their money?

Look, I am not disputing that they can "afford" to pay the tax or that those stingy bastards probably will just save the money if "we" let them keep it.

But I am pretty sure that the top 1% of earners are already paying over 40% of the total Federal income taxes, even at the "giveaway" Bush rates. Over 40% of households pay no Federal income taxes at all. "We" are also popping the rich in other areas of taxation besides their top income tax brackets.

On top of all this, the fact remains that taxing "the rich" will not come close to balancing the Federal budget.

On this issue, the progressive blogosphere seems more like a herd of villagers with pitchforks and torches than a group of sophisticated intellectuals.


David said...

I've always disliked Dan Gross and felt like maybe I was just turning into an irritable fist-pumping pro-market type. This doesn't change my instincts, but I'm glad I'm not alone on this one.

Anonymous said...

A proposal: Since government is really about money, only those who pay federal income taxes get to vote. Say 1 vote for every $100K of taxable income. Whadaya say? Think of the realignment that would lead to! Or, 'no representation without taxation'...

Anonymous said...

@ anon

So basically you want to disenfranchise 99% of the active duty military, and a very high chunk of the veteran population. Not to mention cops, firefighters, nurses, teachers, and a lot of small business owners.

Let me know how that works out for you.