Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The Need to Tax the Wealthy

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Dean Baker writes in The Economist:

The quest to increase taxes on the wealthy is not a gratuitous attack on upper income households; it is driven by the need to raise more revenue to run the government. While many deficit hawks been irresponsible in raising fears of an impending collapse of the American government, the projected deficits for years following the recovery are in fact larger than is desirable.

There are areas of American spending at the federal government level that could be reasonably cut, but even after we have zeroed out the "waste, fraud, and abuse" category of federal spending we will still likely need additional revenue of between 1-2%t of GDP to keep budget deficits in an acceptable range. That leaves a choice between increasing taxes on the wealthy or imposing more taxes on the middle class.

The vast majority of the income gains in the United States over the last three decades have gone to the richest 5% of the population, largely as a result of policies that were explicitly designed to redistribute income upwards. Therefore it is far more appropriate to tax the richest 5%t of families who have prospered than the broad middle class who have suffered.

Of course taxes can be designed in a better or worse manner. The best way to increase taxes on the wealthy, in addition to allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, would be to apply a modest financial transactions tax (FTT).

There is a long history in both the United States and the rest of the world with FTT. Until 1964, …

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Written by Leisureguy

21 April 2009 at 12:49 pm

Posted in Daily life, Government

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