Finance and Economics > Economic News, the Global Economy and all Things Monetary

Wealth Tax?

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David in MN:
We support charities. And we do other things like letting friends and neighbors use our shop. I've done pro bono work for my daughter's school.

Giving back is good. But bizarre tax schemes aren't the way.

LvsChant:
We are indeed fortunate to live where we do with the natural resources that are here, etc.

Those who have done well in business or other endeavor quite often choose to give of themselves (time, talent or fortune) to help others along the way and I applaud them for it. In fact, those who do so benefit as much as those they help, in my opinion.

I am simply opposed to it being mandated by others through taxation. If the individual chooses not to donate to charities or help others along the way, I think it should be his/her prerogative. 

I find it completely immoral for those of us not affected by a particular tax to vote to impose it on someone else for my own (or some other worthy group's) benefit.

iam4liberty:
It’s pretty typical human behavior for people to try to make sure the rules work to their benefit. That’s why the U.S. is based on the idea of a robust legal system and constraints on the excesses of anybody, especially concentrated wealth. And yet we’re at this moment where concentrated wealth has begun to turn into concentrated power. More than begun. It’s well underway. The thing that makes capitalism capitalism is competition. But as you have more and more corporate agglomerations of power, you’re going to see less and less competition. 

I think it’s a vicious cycle. This didn’t just happen. The economy is not some creature that just lumbers along on its own. It’s an interaction between private sector and public sector. And public sector policies, for basically as long as I’ve been alive, have been skewed in a direction that’s increasing inequality.

And a lot of this is the consequence of what you might call the Reagan consensus. There was a period where even Democrats seemed to operate in this framework that assumes that the only thing you’d ever do with a tax is cut it. That those tax cuts were assumed to pay for themselves. The empirical collapse of that supply side consensus, I think, is one of the defining moments of this period that we’re living through.

Sure, it’s lifted so many out of poverty. And by the way, there are ways that it can work for us at home, too. But again, we’re seeing a concentration of wealth and power that skews things in the opposite direction.

The fundamental truth is, it turns out a rising tide does not lift all boats. Not on its own. Especially if some of the boats are sort of tethered to the ocean floor. And that’s the kind of pattern that we’ve been on.

David in MN:
I certainly agree that the cronyism is a big problem and the most regulated industries are the worst. Banking, education, medicine, and military spending are about all politicians talk about because they are dumpster fires.

But if we  want a less corrupt world giving the government purview of every piece of property seems wrong. Even a little creepy to think the IRS would record the ownership of every gun and piece of gold. Asset registration was a Nazi strategy for a reason.

Also has a weird incentive not to buy appreciating assets.

I'm sympathetic with the goal of reducing bad behavior in markets but I don't see this helping.

iam4liberty:
Oh, I just realised I forgot to put in propper citations. ;)

The posts above were direct quotes from the following justifying their tax increase proposals:

Barack Obama
There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me – because they want to give something back. They know they didn't – look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges--if you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

Elizabeth Warren
I hear all this, you know, 'Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.' No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

Pete Buttigieg
It’s pretty typical human behavior for people to try to make sure the rules work to their benefit. That’s why the U.S. is based on the idea of a robust legal system and constraints on the excesses of anybody, especially concentrated wealth. And yet we’re at this moment where concentrated wealth has begun to turn into concentrated power. More than begun. It’s well underway. The thing that makes capitalism capitalism is competition. But as you have more and more corporate agglomerations of power, you’re going to see less and less competition.

I think it’s a vicious cycle. This didn’t just happen. The economy is not some creature that just lumbers along on its own. It’s an interaction between private sector and public sector. And public sector policies, for basically as long as I’ve been alive, have been skewed in a direction that’s increasing inequality.

And a lot of this is the consequence of what you might call the Reagan consensus. There was a period where even Democrats seemed to operate in this framework that assumes that the only thing you’d ever do with a tax is cut it. That those tax cuts were assumed to pay for themselves. The empirical collapse of that supply side consensus, I think, is one of the defining moments of this period that we’re living through.

Sure, it’s lifted so many out of poverty. And by the way, there are ways that it can work for us at home, too. But again, we’re seeing a concentration of wealth and power that skews things in the opposite direction.

The fundamental truth is, it turns out a rising tide does not lift all boats. Not on its own. Especially if some of the boats are sort of tethered to the ocean floor. And that’s the kind of pattern that we’ve been on.

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