Prime Time for Socialism
November 20, 2012 2:21 PM   Subscribe

The US does not have a spending problem, we have a distribution problem "Forty years from now, America will be twice as rich on average as we are today. But most of that wealth will go to the very richest households. We only have a budget crisis if they refuse to pay higher taxes... So the real point isn't that we can't afford Social Security and Medicare. It's that some people don't want to pay the higher taxes necessary to maintain Social Security and Medicare. This is a question of distribution, pure and simple."
posted by bookman117 (53 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Of course.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:30 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Burn them!
posted by oddman at 2:35 PM on November 20, 2012


And the same is true of the world in general. People who arse on about overpopulation need to understand this. The world is not overpopulated with humans any more than it is overpopulated with ants. The problem of inequality is absolutely central to any major political, geographical
or environmental question. Population matters, but only insofar as relatively lower levels of population disguise the unsustainablity of policies of inequality.
posted by howfar at 2:36 PM on November 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


Obesity is now more prevalent than starvation.
US wealth is soaring; so is unemployment and poverty.
10 million empty homes and a million empty hotel rooms; A million homeless people in the US.

It's obvious the problem is not wealth creation, but rather wealth distribution.
posted by nickrussell at 2:36 PM on November 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


Social Security and Medicare are two entirely different things.
posted by srboisvert at 2:38 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


After reading the linked sentence my first thought was this might actually be about shipping charges and logistics.
posted by Toekneesan at 2:38 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


howfar: And the same is true of the world in general. People who arse on about overpopulation need to understand this. The world is not overpopulated with humans any more than it is overpopulated with ants. The problem of inequality is absolutely central to any major political, geographical
or environmental question. Population matters, but only insofar as relatively lower levels of population disguise the unsustainablity of policies of inequality.
Most arguments about overpopulation speak about the future expected population burdens, not the current situation. Overpopulation will become a serious problem in the future, unless our growth curtails completely, or if one lives in a universe where the Earth has limitless resources.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:39 PM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh yes, I agree. But it will become a problem because of our currently unequal distribution of wealth.
posted by howfar at 2:42 PM on November 20, 2012


Sorry, this article can be read to present a false dichotomy. The very real fact that we have a taxation problem does not make our very real spending problem disappear. Why can't the answer be to tax more fairly and spend less?
posted by resurrexit at 2:46 PM on November 20, 2012


Oh yes, I agree. But it will become a problem because of our currently unequal distribution of wealth.

The Earth does have an absolute carrying capacity for humans, and that capacity will at some point start to shrink.
posted by IjonTichy at 2:48 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Earth does have an absolute carrying capacity for humans, and that capacity will at some point start to shrink.

But there's an inverse correlation between wealth and fecundity in human society; if everyone's wealthier people will have less kids.

Doesn't solve the problem of who's going to take out the trash, though.
posted by Jimbob at 2:57 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The problem is that in 40 years, we'll have the richest people on the planet in about 2% of the population, and about 80% will be the working poor or those living on welfare and social security.

The gist of the problem is that we're not taking care of our Middle Class; we're only subsidizing the very richest and the very poorest.
posted by ruelle at 3:02 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yesterday, my son asked me why the United States has so much more trouble than Canada. I told him that it was much bigger, but that also the lack of a robust moderate left has severely crippled the ability of the US to manage itself properly.
posted by No Robots at 3:03 PM on November 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


The gist of the problem is that we're not taking care of our Middle Class; we're only subsidizing the very richest and the very poorest.

I believe the middle class is being neglected. Clear evidence of this is the piss poor education they receive that allows them to not even be aware of the massive levels of government subsidy they receive. It is so bad that many of them can't even recognize that they are the most favoured SES group in terms of automatic benefits.
posted by srboisvert at 3:28 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Crappy article.

Doesn't define "rich" and "really rich".
Pegs GDP growth with inflation, while not mentioning health care is greatly exceeding that rate.
Predicts constant growth in GDP for over a half century. 2087? And how the hell do they predict the slope increasing around 2050?



I'm all for saying, that if we increase taxes, we can pay for health care, and retirement. I am dubious that these tax increases would be solely for those most of consider "rich".
posted by zabuni at 3:30 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This article could have been written 30 years ago. That was a turning point, when the wealthy began absorbing all the new wealth being created in the U.S. economy.
posted by adamrice at 3:34 PM on November 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


I believe the middle class is being neglected. Clear evidence of this is the piss poor education they receive that allows them to not even be aware of the massive levels of government subsidy they receive. It is so bad that many of them can't even recognize that they are the most favoured SES group in terms of automatic benefits."

I think we agree there is no middle class. There is only the rich and the rest of us. The rich will dwindle until there is not enough of them to even create successors.

We will then run out of Rich People.

The big question is what will we do then?
posted by Colonel Panic at 3:50 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's me arseing on about overpopulation:

The problem of overpopulation isn't just that "there's not enough food to go around." We know that there's actually more than enough food right now for everybody. That's not the problem. The problem is that there are so many human beings and the wealthy societies' way of living is so profligate that we're trashing the planet in general. There are enough humans now that if everyone lives as we Americans live, it will be devastating to the planet's ecosystem.

The Green Revolution averted the massive famine concentrated in poor regions that would have come from population growth outstripping food production, and that's wonderful. But the intensive use of Green Revolution methods has its own negative externalities:
In 2009 NPR reported that the food production methods exported to India in the 1970s known as the "Green Revolution" are emptying India's aquifers and will turn India's most productive farmland into a barren desert within "10 to 15 years." The same method of over pumping aquifers is used all around the world and has already led to Saudi Arabia switching from growing its own food to importing it and will inevitably lead to peak water worldwide.
Apart from that, runoff from farms is leading to huge dead zones in the oceans around the world's major rivers, like where the Mississippi empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

We're also driving species to extinction at an unprecedented rate. There's so many of us that we're doing irreversible damage to the planet.

There's too much pollution for two reasons:
1. There's too many polluters.
2. The polluters do too much pollutin'.

The economic trend around the world is generally toward improving prosperity, but if we all lived like Americans we'd trash the place. The Earth is like a garden, and right now we've got so many people in it we're trampling over things. So we have to both figure out how to live with a lighter footprint and how to slow down the growth in the number of feet stomping around. (And figure out how to deal with the consequences of the slowing of birthrates. The current demographic transition worldwide is similar to the aging of the Baby Boomers in the US). Population growth can best be slowed by improving the equality of women in poor nations and improving access to birth control.
posted by Sleeper at 3:55 PM on November 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


> It's obvious the problem is not wealth creation, but rather wealth distribution.

You have the faintest of prayers of fixing that by armed insurrection. Otherwise get ready to live with it.
posted by jfuller at 4:02 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here is a chart about Union membership. I kind of think the middle class should stop complaining about not being subsidized and start unionizing and joining together with the poor to make sure all jobs are unionized.

I realize the legal barriers in some states, but mass action can beat all that.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:04 PM on November 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


I kind of think the middle class should stop complaining about not being subsidized and start unionizing and joining together with the poor to make sure all jobs are unionized.

This is a part of the solution, yeah. Really - it's a question not of distribution but of control. We have tremendous resources and are using them to make a small portion of society absolutely sickeningly rich. We could be using those resources to abolish poverty, starting with a World War II-scale mobilization to convert to a fully sustainable society in every post-industrial and industrial nation. But the current social system calls for the rich to get richer. That is "growth," and it's what markets do, so that's what is encouraged.
posted by graymouser at 4:17 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Population matters, but only insofar as relatively lower levels of population disguise the unsustainablity of policies of inequality.

Piffle. We can't erase overfishing problems, pollution problems, landfill problems, energy shortage problems, water shortage problems, CO2 problems, etc by simply averaging out the effects across everyone evenly.
posted by DU at 4:21 PM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Doesn't solve the problem of who's going to take out the trash, though.

If the lack of willing garbage men is really what is holding humanity back, I will gladly volunteer.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 4:52 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


bookman117 : We only have a budget crisis if they refuse to pay higher taxes

Wealth does not equal income.

We don't tax most forms of wealth at all. Nor can we, realistically - How do you "tax" bills stuffed into a mattress? Gold bars in the basement? South American land-holdings under an LLC shell? And if we found a way, then how do you tax people fleeing the country and taking their (non-seizable) wealth with them?

If you want to deal with income disparity, you need total compensation caps (including a personal ROI cap), not taxes (though I suppose we could phrase that as a 100% tax over X dollars). To deal with a wealth disparity, nothing short of targeted executions and use of military force abroad will do a damned thing about it.
posted by pla at 4:52 PM on November 20, 2012


Listen. I'm as pinko as the next MeFite, but this article makes very little sense to me. Forget projections regarding the future. As of this very day, and even ignoring the stimulus spending of late, we DO have a spending problem. Even in the most conservative back-of-the-envelope scenarios -- where we assume massive tax hikes would have no impact on our tax base, taxing the top bracket incomes at 90+%, and big hikes on even the second tier of income taxes would still leave us with a deficit because we spend so damn much. The vast majority of that spending goes to 3 things. War machines, Social Security, and healthcare. To try to spend at current levels and make up for it in taxes would require taxing wealth in ways far beyond the few extra percentage points on income that the POTUS wants. If the goal is a long-term balanced budget (and I'm not making the argument that it should be) we have to contain spending.

The U.S. DOES have a growing problem of income/wealth inequality and a dwindling middle class. But it ALSO has a big spending problem, AND a big demographics problem.
posted by drpynchon at 4:58 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


pla: "How do you "tax" bills stuffed into a mattress?"

That's easy: inflate the currency.
posted by mullingitover at 5:00 PM on November 20, 2012


If you want to deal with income disparity, you need total compensation caps (including a personal ROI cap), not taxes (though I suppose we could phrase that as a 100% tax over X dollars). To deal with a wealth disparity, nothing short of targeted executions and use of military force abroad will do a damned thing about it.

Estate tax?
posted by Drinky Die at 5:03 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


mullingitover : That's easy: inflate the currency.
Drinky Die : Estate tax?

And gold/silver? Land in Argentina?

More importantly - What sort of world do you want to live in where private property doesn't safely exist? Take that away, and you either have communism (not just boring ol' Euro-style socialism), or an anarchy where "ability to defend" defines ownership.
posted by pla at 5:38 PM on November 20, 2012


More importantly - What sort of world do you want to live in where private property doesn't safely exist? Take that away, and you either have communism (not just boring ol' Euro-style socialism), or an anarchy where "ability to defend" defines ownership.

Wait, what do currency inflation and progressive estate taxes have to do with abolishing private property?
posted by ndfine at 6:03 PM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


pla: is there a place on the planet that doesn't have eminent domain? because in that context private property doesn't 'safely exist' (whatever that may mean) anywhere in the world (that I know of).
posted by el io at 6:13 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Anarchism sounds pretty nice compared to what we're dealing with now, tbh.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:14 PM on November 20, 2012


The article hits some good points (though _The Atlantic_ is worthless and I actively discourage decent people from reading such tripe) but it fails to really grasp the solution because it doesn't really understand the problem. The problem has nothing to do with money and money has almost nothing to do with wealth.

Even in the most conservative back-of-the-envelope scenarios -- where we assume massive tax hikes would have no impact on our tax base, taxing the top bracket incomes at 90+%, and big hikes on even the second tier of income taxes would still leave us with a deficit because we spend so damn much.

No, this is nonsense. There is nothing wrong with deficits. In fact, the private sector desperately needs "real" safe assets like government debt to hold its savings.

That said, socialists need to stop worrying about money. It is such a misdirection. Though it's not nearly as precise and as clean and dry as money, what actually matters is quality of life or, perhaps, let's say capacity. Socialists, if they were serious, would never campaign for "social programs", whatever that means. They would campaign to make people more productive. They would hold surveys asking people "could you be more productive?" and "why don't you make more money." The error of socialism is this naive belief that wealth matters at all. It doesn't. Zero unemployment, maximal productivity, aggressive public investment, easy banruptcy, and happy children. This is what matters and these are far more important than trying to figure out what might be some ideal distribution of wealth.

Take that away, and you either have communism

What's always hilarious about such beliefs is that it is obvious even to children that communism is the most efficient economic system of all. That's why in contexts where the efficiency of the economy really matters -- in a family, or during war time or some other crisis, or in periods of truly rapid expansion -- you always find communism. The whole market/price thing is nonsense monkey-logic and at this point I pray that the only people dumb enough to believe in efficient markets are economists and conservatives.

. To deal with a wealth disparity, nothing short of targeted executions and use of military force abroad will do a damned thing about it.

What? Seriously? You believe this. To deal with wealth disparity all you need to do is give wealth away. What on earth do you think wealth is? Do you think it's like gold -- something we dig out of the ground? Do you think it's some sort of finite resource? It's ridiculous. Ask yourself where your real wealth lies. It's not in your bank account or in your portfolio. It's not even in your house. It's in your social bonds, in your health, and in your education and in your reputation. These are your only real assets and this is what health is -- it is the real measure of your capacity to produce. Wealth disparity is a problem that can be solved with a pen as that's all it really takes to give people these things.

(Of course the wealthy will never get behind this because they, most of all, understand the real nature of wealth. The wealthy have tremendous wealth that has very little to do with their money. In fact, if your money is really tied up in currency then you're not wealthy at all, you're just rich -- ie an above average wage slave. And once you understand this you understand that all wealth is relative and that's why it's important that you make people believe that communism is evil.)
posted by nixerman at 7:04 PM on November 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


Even in the most conservative back-of-the-envelope scenarios -- where we assume massive tax hikes would have no impact on our tax base, taxing the top bracket incomes at 90+%, and big hikes on even the second tier of income taxes would still leave us with a deficit because we spend so damn much.

No, this is nonsense. There is nothing wrong with deficits. In fact, the private sector desperately needs "real" safe assets like government debt to hold its savings.


Again, I wasn't making the case for a balanced budget. I was making the case against income tax hikes being even a remotely adequate solution to deficits if you accept that deficits are a problem, which the author seems to do. That is ostensibly what the article is about as the selected FFP quote suggests. I agree with your points about socialisms proper goals, though your logic regarding the efficiency of communism seems dubious. Countries made of millions of strangers obviously operate under different interests/ethics/morals than a nuclear family. Family dynamics don't scale well, and one could argue that war economies are exceedingly inefficient if you measure efficiency by metrics other than dead people.
posted by drpynchon at 7:30 PM on November 20, 2012


"...at this point I pray that the only people dumb enough to believe in efficient markets are economists and conservatives."

That seems to have been enough to get us where we are today.
posted by carping demon at 8:31 PM on November 20, 2012


This is a question of distribution, pure and simple." Which when translated means "This is a question of acquisition, pure and simple."

The Government and the poor truly believe they are entitled to take the earnings of the rich. I read this somewhere in history. It did not end well.
posted by Gungho at 5:58 AM on November 21, 2012


> This is a question of acquisition, pure and simple.

Not if it's done competitively.

So, all things being equal:
The World does not have a spending problem, it has a distribution problem "Forty years from now, the World will be twice as rich on average as it is today. But most of that wealth will go to the very richest nations. We only have a budget crisis if they refuse to pay higher compensation... So the real point isn't that we can't afford Social Security and Medicare for all. It's that some nations don't want to pay the higher compensation necessary to maintain Social Security and Medicare for all. This is a question of distribution, pure and simple."
So yes, predictably prime time for the generosity of socialist economies.
posted by de at 6:09 AM on November 21, 2012


The US could print an alternative currency called "the public good" that can only be spent on needed services like healthy foods, tuition, sanctioned housing, and medicine. This avoids taxing things like sugar to pay for cancer screenings, which is difficult, although common sense. Instead, we just distribute this beneficial cash widely though government contracts and government aid and let consumers seek the best use of it. All employers can pay their employees with it in part or full. The Romneys of the world, foreign and domestic, would not want to stash this money overseas without having an American production or services spending outlet for it, so they wouldn't bother.
posted by Brian B. at 7:14 AM on November 21, 2012


I kind of think the middle class should stop complaining about not being subsidized and start unionizing and joining together with the poor to make sure all jobs are unionized.


See this NYer article on why that won't solve the problem.
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:19 AM on November 21, 2012


What's always hilarious about such beliefs is that it is obvious even to children that communism is the most efficient economic system of all.

That's because children are accustomed to centralized control, and unaccustomed to the corruption of the powerful, to say nothing of mass democide.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:28 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


> That's because children are [...] unaccustomed to the corruption of the powerful, to say nothing of mass democide.

Afghani children? All children?
posted by de at 8:43 AM on November 21, 2012


I kind of think the middle class should stop complaining about not being subsidized and start unionizing and joining together with the poor to make sure all jobs are unionized.


First, I think they should clue up and realize that they are the most heavily subsidized social class in the United States.
posted by srboisvert at 9:25 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Afghani children? All children?

Yup, even them, since children don't see the big picture even assuming they have access to the information to form one. In any case, children should not be consulted on which economic system is best.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:42 AM on November 21, 2012


It's the military spending, stupid.

And the answer is easy: More drones, fewer aircraft carriers and stealth fighters.

We can have lower taxes and keep our social programs.
posted by b1tr0t at 3:21 PM on November 21, 2012


b1tr0t : It's the military spending, stupid.

Huh, I haven't seen that one trotted out in a while.

You realize, of course, that cutting all military spending - 100% of the defense budget - Wouldn't even balance the budget? Would just barely cover half of the annual deficit?


We can have lower taxes and keep our social programs.

No. No, you cannot. Pick one - More taxes, or fewer social programs. Because you know what would close the deficit? HHS. It comes out to almost the difference between federal receipts and outlay (nearly exact, as originally projected for 2012 - though $200B short now that the cards have all played). Of course, HHS does a few good things, so perhaps we should at least consider chipping a bit off #2, right? No, sorry, still not the military; Try the SSA.


We can have lower taxes and keep our social programs.

And ponies. Don't forget ponies.
posted by pla at 5:40 PM on November 21, 2012


We also have near 8% unemployment, which reduces tax receipts and increases spending on the social insurance programs that act as automatic stabilizers in a sluggish economy. Getting people back to work will push down the number of people qualifying for Medicaid, stop older folks from taking Social Security early because the job market sucks, and increase revenues even if rates were kept where they are today.

I agree with the general point that cutting defense alone doesn't get it done, but in the discretionary budget (items that need to be approved every year and aren't funded by dedicated taxes) the breakdown is 63% military/security spending, 37% non-military/security spending (you can't just look under DoD, you have to look at much of what's under DHS, too.) There is also the larger conversation about what the military budget is buying us versus what the social programs are buying us -- you can't talk about all programs as if they're equally valuable. (Obviously keeping the country safe is valuable, but there are many programs within it that exist primarily as a backdoor jobs program for hundreds of congressional districts.)

I would amend b1tr0t's statement to read "we can have lower taxes on a vast majority of Americans and keep our social programs." The rich will have to pay more, as they should, which is sort of what this FPP is all about.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:32 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


tonycpsu : you can't just look under DoD, you have to look at much of what's under DHS, too

Don't get me wrong - Personally, I'd completely slash the DHS out of existence, and cut the military in half (if not less). But no matter how you measure it, various "social programs", by themselves, add up to more than the federal gross receipts. You simply cannot keep them all (and balance the budget) without raising taxes.


The rich will have to pay more, as they should, which is sort of what this FPP is all about.

A lot of folks in discussions like this have suggested similar points.

The rich, however, have options that you and I do not. How many Eduardo Saverins do you think would stick around if we decided to impose a 70% top marginal rate, when literally dozens of countries would love to have them as citizens - actively solicit them to emigrate - at a quarter of that rate?
posted by pla at 7:59 PM on November 21, 2012


What's always hilarious about such beliefs is that it is obvious even to children that communism is the most efficient economic system of all.

Traditionally it was least efficient. The demand came not from consumers, but from bureaucrats who did not stand in lines or study the black markets. A factory would go on making things long after nobody wanted them. Everything could go right, but then there were no machines at one critical point to harvest something or deliver it on time, resulting in massive wastes, because a single memo didn't go out. As a supply-side approach, it was good for military-type production and giving people jobs, not caring what they made. Even capitalism figured out how to pay farmers not to grow a crop that wasn't needed, averting collapse of prices. Communist theory eschewed any smooth function that money offered. Ironically, it would require the internet for communism to succeed, being plugged into all of the consumers in real time.
posted by Brian B. at 8:17 PM on November 21, 2012


A 70% top rate is a straw man -- we're never going back to anything near the World War II rates unless there's a World War III.

We currently have a 36% top rate, 39.6% if the GWB cuts expire. Increasing this rate is only one tool in our arsenal -- we can also let the estate taxes go up to pre-Bush rates or higher, reduce or eliminate the disparity between taxation of earned and unearned income, increase corporate taxes, etc. We can also add new brackets beyond the current top bracket to create a more gradual scale. So maybe $250k through $1m is near 40%, $1m through $10m is near 45%, $10m+ is 50%... you get the idea. Point being that we don't have to treat the merely rich the same as the filthy rich, and we can create more fairness in the tax code without cranking up the top marginal income rate.

If, as you say, a thousand Eduardo Saverins bloom, where are they going to go? There are certain countries that have lower top marginal rates, but are they places people want to live? Do they not have other taxes that reduce their appeal? I know Ireland has a low corporate tax rate, but their taxes as a percentage of GDP are still higher than ours, so they must be getting the money somehow. I just don't see this happening in large enough numbers that it has a significant effect on our economy, but if it does, I'll drive each and every one of them to the fucking airport.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:23 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


A 70% top rate is a straw man

And ponies. Don't forget ponies.

If we tax right wing strawmen and condescension at 89% we will be solvent in a week.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:03 AM on November 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


tonycpsu : A 70% top rate is a straw man -- we're never going back to anything near the World War II rates unless there's a World War III.

I'll agree that it'll never happen again short of outright war; but if it counts as a straw man, it comes straight from the pages of the Blue, not from fiscal conservatives. I could link dozens of MeFi pages where seemingly-rational people have, in all seriousness, suggested exactly that, or higher, or outright asset forfeiture and redistribution from people guilty of nothing but having wealth.. Even in this thread, "is there a place on the planet that doesn't have eminent domain?" - Though in fairness that comment came in response to something I said.

But a strawman? No, sadly - Far, far too many people have no idea how much that would damage the US economy in exchange for a single year's gain. We may never go back there short of outright war, but we have an awfully lot of people calling for exactly that, against the wealthy.

Now, if you really want to get some reform in the tax code, figure out a way to make companies like these actually pay any taxes.


Drinky Die : If we tax right wing strawmen and condescension at 89% we will be solvent in a week.

Anyone telling you that you can have it all either wants to rob you or counts as a fool. I don't "suffer fools gladly". And yes, that very likely does influence my political world-view.
posted by pla at 6:41 AM on November 22, 2012


Anyway, US solutions aside, I'm glad Obama has four more years of this. He has a much needed generosity of spirit. His legacy may not be meagre.
posted by de at 10:06 AM on November 22, 2012


pla, aside from one guy suggesting a 100% marginal rate, which I think we can all agree is untenable and is probably more of a though experiment to prove a point about what motivates rich people to get richer, I don't see many in that thread arguing for a 70% or higher rate. I do see some questions about what we've gotten as a country by lowering it, but that's not nearly the same as suggesting that we return to those rates. Even those who argue in favor of higher rates in that thread aren't (for the most part) talking about anything above 50%, at least not explicitly.

What I do see in that thread is an attempt on your part to use Laffer curve thinking to prove that higher rates on the rich dissuade them from working. I think the Laffer Curve is bunk, but of course it does hold true at the 0% and 100% effective (not marginal) rate levels. Your argument in that thread seems to be that moving the marginal rate above 35% will create an incentive for the rich to work less, but reputable studies place the revenue-maximizing effective rate at around 70%. Since someone with a marginal rate of 70% is paying far less than a 70% effective rate, the idea that moving the top marginal rate above 35% will create a loss of revenue as people work less is simply not borne out by the facts.

With regards to your idea of closing loopholes to raise revenue, I'm all for that. Closing loopholes is necessary, but not sufficient. We can do both, and given the scale of our fiscal imbalance, we must do both.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:09 AM on November 22, 2012




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