President Obama thinks that the federal government should tax the rich more, starting by closing itemizations “for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.”
He says this will go a long way to reducing the deficit. But in the very sentence he advances it, he says it would “reduce the deficit by $320 billion over ten years.” Not in the first year, which might amount to something, but over a decade’s long stretch.
But, baby steps. Anything to raise taxes.
Democrats in Congress need to tax their brains, first.
Unlike the bulk of the population, the rich don’t have to earn more to retire. That’s what it means to be rich. So, the more you take from their incomes, the less incentive they have to go out earning incomes.
When tax rates rise, greater numbers of wealthy folk switch employment of their capital from productive enterprise (“making more”) to consumption. Not only are they then taxed less, but they employ fewer workers, who therefore pay fewer taxes.
This adds up, as can easily be seen by graphing tax revenue along with top marginal tax rates since World War II. Result? Tax revenues tend to hover just under 19 percent, despite radically different tax rates. As Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie puts it, “Any budget plan based on revenue being better than 19 percent of GDP is just blowing smoke.”
Which suggests where Obama’s audacious hope to resolve the federal budget crisis by raising taxes will end up — in smoke.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.