This quick rant is brought to you by the Lichtenbergian Precept of Task Avoidance: by writing this, I’m avoiding work on the Easier Piece #5.
During a recent Facebook discussion about tax rates—and it was a discussion, not an insane bout of poo-flinging—we were treated to the old rightwing shibboleth of not wanting a higher, progressive tax rate on the wealthy because it would “punish success,” somehow disincentivizing the ruling class from being productive members of society.
I have never understood why people believe this kind of thing, other than they’ve had it hammered into their brains by the very people whom it benefits. It makes no logical sense.
I am supposed to believe that a class of people who are distinguished by their rapacious and never-ending greed would suddenly stop their money-making activities if we forced them to contribute more of their income to the common welfare? Leaving aside any worldviews about whether the government can even because reasons, that’s just stupid talk.
Why would the opposite not be true? Why, if we suddenly confiscated more of their income through progressive taxation, would the ultra-wealthy not double down to make more to keep? Seems to me that would be the more logical outcome, given what we’ve seen to be true about that class.
So we raise tax rates back to where they were when we had a strong middle class, and the upper classes contribute more, the government reduces the budget deficit, the economy improves, the middle class gets more money to spend and the upper class is more productive. What’s not to like?