Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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I Think Ben Stein Might Be Right

Ben Stein has been pumping for higher taxes on the "very rich" in the Sunday business section of the New York Times for a while now, I guess as a way of keeping in good graces with the NYT editors or something.

But the other day I was sitting in the lobby of a boutique luxury hotel in midtown Manhattan when a stretch Bentley the size of Delaware coasted up to the curb, and out stepped an obviously super-wealthy and well-appointed couple, who were greeted by practically the entire management staff of the hotel. The manager proudly announced to the couple that they were being bunked in the hotel’s presidential suite, whereupon the uber-coiffed wife said, "Well certainly not the current president!"

I’m with Stein here: Raise their taxes. "Through the roof!," as Jon Lovitz put it in his famous Dukakis After Dark sketch on SNL.

Discussions - 8 Comments

Steve: I saw Reagan Symposium you participated (along with Knott, Ceasar, Barone, et al) in on C-Span (actually, only saw about 15 minutes); tried to find it on C-Span site, but couldn't. Can you tell me how to find it, or you put it out so others could see it (or just hear it)? Thanks.

Happy Easter one and all.

Or, to be more precise, you would like to see taxes raised for the very rich who don't like the current president (and of course, ALL conservatives approve of him, right?). That's quite a plan.

And I presume you were in the lobby of the luxury boutique hotel just to get out of the elements and keep warm for a while? Let me guess - "very rich" is just one tax bracket above yours, right? ;)

3: The personal insult is gratuitous and unjustified. As for the actual issue in question: Higher taxes on the super-rich are perhaps defensible on policy grounds, and are more defensible given that so many of them appear to want higher taxes not only on themselves, but on many others.

Ah, Craig Scanlon shows up for duty as expected! No, the plan is simply to let the super-rich, who, data show, are increasingly liberal and Democratic, pay for the government they apparently favor. QED. As for my tax bracket, I happen to fall into that middle ground where all the usual exemptions and tax breaks for the middle class are phased out (and then throw in the AMT on top of that), such that I pay a higher marginal rate than most of the super-rich. Curious, no?

If the US could tax foolishness efficiently, we would have no (budgetary) deficit, because there is no deficit in the area of foolishness.

Which is why a consumption tax is preferable to an income tax.

There is no law against voluntarily giving more money to the government. Whenever people complain about taxation in that way "I don't mind paying my taxes. The government could take more of my money in the form of taxes. It would be reasonable." I always suggest they just write a check to their favorite area of government. I wonder if someone might be eligible for a tax deduction for charitable giving if he actually did that.

As Mr. Hayward set the tone for some opportunistic class war (although I still don't know how he's so sure that the "uber-coiffed wife" was liberal or Democratic), let me say that I'm amazed that after the Tax Man is done with him he's still able to pay for his wine cellar(s) and the two homes that he has mentioned here at NLT from time to time. Two homes are not something typically known by the "middle class" that I'm familiar with.

Beside the point, Craig. Your personal comments are inappropriate.

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