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comment by wasoxygen
wasoxygen  ·  1327 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Paul Graham: Economic Inequality

    no reason that both things can't be true

I agree, and I think Graham does too:

    In the real world you can create wealth as well as taking it from others.

The trillions of dollars in wealth now held by the wealthy was created by someone sometime in the past. The familiar examples of wealth are those who created value for many people, like Bill Gates' software, the Waltons' affordable products, or Lady Gaga's music. No doubt tax law plays a part, but even a 90% marginal tax would not reduce them to everyday levels of affluence.

    Have you ever looked at income tax rates, historically?

Yes, b_b and I discussed it.

rob05c  ·  1327 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    even a 90% marginal tax would not reduce them to everyday levels of affluence.

Personally, I think increasing taxation is attacking the symptom, not the disease. I think the disease can be better tackled by directly strengthening the position of the poor, for example by strengthening unions.

I absolutely think the wealthy should be taxed appropriately, and they're not now. But, say a wealthy person make a billion a year today. Tax them at 90%, and what do they do? They re-work the system to make a trillion a year, and purchase laws to get that tax money spent on contracts with their companies. Like metastatic cancer.

Empowering unions and labour strengthens the lower class. Building infrastructure strengthens the lower class. Reducing the ability to purchase laws—lobbying, election funding, et cetera—strengthens the lower class. Taxation sounds good in campaign promises, but I'm not convinced it has meaningful, long-term impact on the lower class and standard-of-living.

b_b  ·  1327 days ago  ·  link  ·  

A nice trip down hubski memory lane. If there's anything I'm supportive of the GOP candidates for president on, it's that most of them would like to eliminate the payroll tax. I'm not smart enough to know what a good marginal rate structure is, but I'm damn sure that the payroll tax is pernicious. I'm continually amazed that there isn't bipartisan support for abolishing it. I suppose that's probably because no one can agree on how to replace the revenue, which would be imperative, considering the numbers involved.