Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


The Debate Over Taxes, Inequality and Fairness

I offer my thoughts in the current issue of Commentary.  A shorter version appeared earlier this week in the Los Angeles Times.
Categories > Politics

Discussions - 3 Comments

The short answer is, people who earn/make more than a million dollars a year are American citizens too. They are not some subhuman breed that should have a bounty placed on their pelts. There is not even an a priori reason for singling them out for "special" tax treatment. The politics of envy and class-hatred do not constitute valid policy concerns...sorry Mr. Schumer!

I'm just about as angry with the Right on this, though. Why aren't we hearing about how many of these millionaires are actually just small- and medium-sized business people who are the principle employers of America. I get so damned sick of the Right dropping the ball. It's not like they can't get the intellectual labor to do the job -- they just don't.

Thank you for this piece, Dr. Voegeli.

If you have an income of $1,000,000, you likely own something more striking than a dry cleaning business or hardware store.

That aside, reducing the ratio of federal expenditure to domestic product is a long term project to be effected by a gradual restructuring of retirement benefits. In the interim, you are going to have to increase taxes.

Consumption taxes are a necessary policy tool and payroll taxes can be a useful one. They are also regressive to a degree, so it is proper that personal income taxes be constructed with some biases in contradistinction to that. A flat assessment on personal income offset by a generous dollar value in credit for each member of the taxpayers' family would allow for a modest progression in mean rates, knock much of the wage earning population off the tax rolls completely, and provide some cash back for the most impecunious. We could stop trying to allocate capital with the tax code and stop selectively subsidizing the mundane purchases of the poor and leave them to allocate their cash income as they see fit. Milton Friedman suggested this in 1962. If Congress were ever to enact this, it will be in the Keynesian long run for all of us.

Elements of the Democratic Party promoted and participated in efforts to simplify the income tax during the period running from 1975 to 1986, but have since that time lapsed in to their usual pattern of constructing patron-client relationships by doing special favors for people (like legislating tax breaks or subsidizing their rent).

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