Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Modest Proposal on Income Tax

The latest solution to our tax mess—an agreement being hammered out that will allow the Bush tax cuts to remain in effect—brings up the question of whether we are regressing enough. The current proposals, which according to the Times "would cost about $900 billion over the next two years, to be financed entirely by adding to the national debt," ("Tax Deal Suggests New Path for Obama," NYT, 12/6/10) solving some of our problems today, but creating a condition in which there will both literally and metaphorically be problems tomorrow, begs the question: Why not return to a complete supply-side solution to our budgetary problems? If the rich are getting richer and the large Wall Street firms are only trying to think of new ways of passing on huge bonuses to executives, then why not abolish taxes entirely and while we’re at it why not let all social benefits like social security go only to the wealthiest of Americans? Let the rich have so much money that consumerism itself becomes an afterthought, and let the little crumbs that they throw off in their purchases of bejeweled gowns, foie gras and inexpressibly expensive wines be the starting point for our new economy. Forget the intrinsic inequities of a system in which some reap the benefits and others merely get by. Why go only halfway? Trickle-down theory only works when there is so much being filtered through the likes and dislikes of the ruling class that the trickle is almost constant. The problem with the American economy today is that we are neither fish nor fowl. If we are going to go the route of Swedish socialism and the welfare state, let’s do it. But if we are going to depend on the spending habits of the rich, then let’s fatten them up to the point where there literally aren’t vaults big enough to house all their jewels or bank accounts insurable enough to hold all their cash.

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