Tag Archives: Progressive taxes

On The Punitive Taxation Of America’s Richest, by Richard M. Salsman

The income tax is not only theft, its progressive theft, with those who make more being robbed disproportionately. From Richard M. Salsman at aier.org:

The rich in America don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes, according to critics of capitalism and of inequality who propose a near doubling (to 70 percent) of the current top federal tax rate on personal income. Many such critics also demand a new wealth tax on previously earned income that’s been saved and invested. But what’s a “fair share?” Why is 70 percent the right and proper tax take? Why not 50 percent? Is today’s top rate of 35 percent inherently fair? Why not 10 percent?

Ask anyone who’s willing to define or defend “fair share” in this context — whether a tax expert, an editorialist, or a neighbor — and you’ll likely hear not hard facts and solid logic but a host of banal attitudes and platitudes. “Inequality is unjust!” Why? “Because it’s unfair!” Why? “Because so many people are in need today — and most people agree with me.” But why assume the status of needy or less rich people is caused by the rich? It just doesn’t follow. If the rich aren’t blameworthy for the poor lot of others, as a criminal would be for robbing and impoverishing a victim, what, in plain justice, could justify punitive taxation of the rich?

Part of the problem (and the emotionalism) is that many people today — especially the highly schooled (and highly paid) elites — doubt or deny the principle of desert. They believe no one is truly or fully responsible or deserving of their socioeconomic position or trajectory in life. “They didn’t earn it,” we hear, because so many others — whether parents, teachers, peers, or preachers — played a role. Well, if others played a role, are they deserving? If so, is desert in fact a valid principle? If so, why bother equating unequal possessions with ill-gotten gains? Those who most deny desert deny it most vehemently in the rich; in failing to see how anyone succeeds “on their own,” they fail the more so in seeing how truly great producers succeed.

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