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    “Take” and “grow” are two different things

    “Take” and “grow” are two different things

    Kathleen


    Vanity Fair, to which I begrudgingly subscribe (anything that keeps Hitchens on a payroll can’t be that bad, right?), brought my blood to a boil this morning when I read their latest article on ‘inequality.’

    Here’s the gist:
    “Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income – an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.”

    Hmmm. Okay Mr. Stiglitz, let’s think about this one:
    • Even if the top one percent made/earned (“take”? take from who, exactly?) 25% of the nation’s “income,” in 2008 the top 1 percent of tax returns paid 38.0 percent of all federal individual income taxes.
    • Since when has economics been a zero sum game?
    • Stiglitz makes a thinly-veiled comparison between the wealthiest Americans to oligarchs in Russia. I would compare the US government to a dilapidated playground that puts it in their favor, but I see no reason to condemn people playing by the faulty institutions that have been developed. Corporatism, rent-seeking, and other elements pervert the income of the top, but it is also hard to say if people in the bottom 1% deserve so much wealth when everyone earns it in a context of a far from perfect free market.
    • Lowering tax rates on capital gains promotes investment. When people know they will yield more from an investment, they will be inclined to make more.
    • Wait, I think someone covered this already…

    Clearly there is much more to say. Everyone is welcome to contribute their observations…

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    Comments


    This year I received considerably more in a tax refund than I paid in taxes. Now I am a full time graduate student, and paid loads in maintenance to that ex-wife person. Once upon a time a person could say "Hey! I'm a tax payer!", but too many can not say that. I say adjust taxes so everybody pays some, and bring that expression back. In Wisconsin, because I paid rent for a heated apartment, once I entered my rent for the year into Turbo, my refund jumped magnificently. Obviously, those paying rent in a heated apartment are getting a big refund here. Why? I don't know. But I doubt I could claim my rent is helping cover the property tax. Too many people are not paying any taxes at all, and so they feel no need to restrain government spending. Isn't the socialist strategy to over load the system with takers?

    @Punditarian: Very well said. Thanks.

    Any rich folks out there who think they aren't paying enough taxes, should go to Pay.gov and make a donation.

    "Taking" to describe the accumulation of wealth is what is wrong with the thinking (or lack) of progressives. Back in '51 when I entered the workforce at a mid west steel mill blacks and women were not usually hired as was true in much of our country. They were kept out of the workforce but could we have the productivity and wealth in this nation now if they were left out? Absolutely not! My view is that wealth is created by participation in WORK not taking. The more participation–the more wealth is created—NOT taken.


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