BreakPoint Blog

Banner
Banner
Paying Their Fair Share?


How often, in this political cycle, have we heard that the solution to our fiscal woes is to get the rich to pay their “fair share” and the not-quite rich to pay just “a little more?” William Voegli, senior editor for the Claremont Review of Books, puts that claim to the numbers.


Comments:

I get a kick out of some people on the far left calling for "economic justice." Hmm, some of us might say that it's quite just that folks who don't want to do anything to help themselves would not do very well economically.

In arguing against "soak the rich" proposals, Governor Romney and others would have been well advised to drop the "job creators" nonsense, when the so-called creators had gotten rather favorable tax policies from President Bush and we still got a terrible recession with high unemployment. The voters didn't buy the GOP argument.

What the Republicans should have done was appeal to people's sense of basic fairness. Even if you agree with a progressive tax system, it is simply not fair for someone to have as much as two-thirds of his income taken by the government.

For obvious reasons, politicians don't want to be seen as defenders of the rich. But making a case for fairness could still be plausible. At least, I'd like to think so.
Not really unchanged, Lee. Now the poor had conscription.
"(I mean, we have to let the rich keep some of their money, huh?)"

I've read a lot more about the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 than I have so far about other revolutions, Regis, but I'm getting the sense that this isn't true. (I think you were being sarcastic, but I'll comment as if you were serious.) Even the TV series "Downton Abbey" has made reference to how Irish Republican revolutionaries turned aristocrats from their homes (burning the homes, rather than seizing them, but still the rich didn't get to keep anything).

Interestingly, "Les Miserables" shows how the cry for "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" resulted in a new aristocracy and an unchanged class of wretchedly poor people rather than actual "égalité". As Orwell's "Animal Farm" put it, "Some are more equal than others."

And in light of all the preceding, I wonder if Gerard Depardieu will have to go from France to Russia to Ireland to . . . ?

But to your primary point, I would not be surprised to see the seizure of wealth to affect its redistribution and to address some future power play by China (who might try something and expect us to not respond since they hold so much of our debt). This would fail, as the article points out, but would erase the demonized "rich" - except, of course, for rich Democratic donors like those in Hollywood, union leaders, energy industry speculators, etc.
The problem is that no one considers themselves to be "the rich" even though most of us are in fact rich.
Boiling it down
To paraphrase and summarize, one Voegli's key points...

If we consider the “rich” as the “one-percenters” (that is, anyone making over $352,055 per year) and soak them for all they have in a new 100% tax bracket, it would generate $1.042 trillion in additional tax revenue, substantially less than that needed for our $1.293 trillion deficit.

Given the unlikelihood of a 100% tax bracket (I mean, we have to let the rich keep some of their money, huh?), eliminating the deficit would require, either 1) pinching the rich for 90% of their income and the not-quite rich (those making between $150,400 and $352,055) for 70% of theirs, or 2) substantially raising the taxes on the “un-rich” (that is, everyone else).

For those would favor the former option, the recent flight of Gerard Depardieu from France to Russia is a warning that countries that heavily tax the “rich” may soon have no rich to tax. And for those who favor the second and thought of “Occupy Wall Street” as a movement of the 99%, they haven’t seen nothin’ yet.