Monday, August 22, 2011

Don't tax the wealthy, use their wealth instead

There's a crisp and witty summation of the fiscal quandary we're in, from our man in San Marcos today.

I'm beginning to wonder whether simply taxing the elite is the best solution. That only means taking from A and giving to B, which A will resist and which turns B into a resentful and useless benefit recipient.

Little wonder that the rich are seeking some other way to spend their assets. The group of billionaires that have pledged half their wealth to global charity are, it seems to me, trying to buy God and our good opinion, but it doesn't quite work for me.

I'd have been more impressed if George Soros hadn't (quite legally, of course) swindled some of his fortune from the British public on Black Monday. I'd be pleased if Bill Gates spent some of his stack on ensuring that his software products work properly, instead of repeatedly launching them with multiple holes below the waterline: it's only a matter of time before my new Windows 7-equipped netbook has its working memory entirely filled with "critically important updates" and "service packs", and meantime it works jerkily as the machine juggles my use of it with behind-the-scenes internet downloads of these monster corrections.

So my suggestion, as I commented on Jim's piece, is to put the rich to work:

"I think the issues are productive employment, the over-concentration of wealth, and the parking of the latter in established (global and foreign) businesses instead of new (domestic) ones.

The wealthy need to start spending - investing in new factories and technologies and getting people back into decently-paid work."


James Higham said...

The wealthy need to start spending

The wealthy need to have people off their back trying to rip them off and tell them where to put their money. Government then needs to put in a tax regime which doesn't crucify the wealthy and they might start drifting back here, providing employment and an industry again.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Don't tax anybody, don't tax incomes or profits, just tax land values instead.

Land rental values are a just a left over residual value (albeit a very large one) of what's left over after other taxes (mostly with huge deadweight costs) and the cost of necessities have been taken out.

Sackerson said...

A tax regime that crucifies the wealthy, in the USA? Has someone hacked James' Blogger account?

Paddington said...

James - I back Sackerson on this one. Read Buffet's opinion piece. Once you figure in FICA and Medicare, the rich in the US pay a lower tax rate than a typical worker does.