Re: Another "stop picking on the rich" article
For starters, +1 to your post.
It's very funny watching the 1% Ruling Class - and their sycophants - meltdown into sheer panic because of a very academic Economics book. "THE COMMUNISTS ARE COMING AND THEY WILL TAKE MY CANDELLABRA!!!!!"
The idea of progressive taxation is not new. It's been practiced in the US for quite a long time. It so happens that, during that peroid, the US experienced the greatest growth in economic output and the greatest rise in standards of living. I am talking about the post-WWII period, 1950 - 1980. The 1950's also happens to be the time of the Marshall Plan, when the US invested very large sums of money in rebuilding Western Europe. Like it or not, the Marshall Plan was a government economic support plan. Side-note: this time period also happens to be the time when the world banking system stayed very stable and boring - which is exactly how a banking system should be.
Please don't even try bringing up "1970's stagflation". That was caused by an economic shock, itself caused by a ten-fold increase in the price of crude between 1974 - 1975, followed by another three-fold crude price increase between 1975 -1979:
This didn't affect the US exclusively, it affected everyone, and it had nothing to do with progressive taxation.
What's sad is that a large number of people have apparently bought into this "You too will be a Millionnaire" bullshit, which has been sold in the media by a certain school of economic thinking - based in Chicago, IL USA - starting in the 1980's.
The cold reality is: chances are overwhelmingly against you ever becoming a millionnaire, let alone a billionnaire. Don't believe me. Just choose a past year at random - any year. Tally up the total number of people born in the US that year, and then tally up how many of them went on to a net worth of USD $1 million+. You will be shocked at how small that number is. Your realistic chances are that you will earn a decent living if you work hard, but not much more.
The is fundamental problem with this "inequality is a reflection of my awesomeness, I'm rich because I'm awesome, you're poor because you suck" - if you live in the US, throw in some "ordained by $DEITY" reference in here - is that it intentionally ignores its medium and long-term consequences. Creating and maintaining a society where 90% of the wealth is concentrated at the top 1% and the rest of the 99% are fighting for the scraps is a sure-fire recipe for a recessionary death spiral. 99% of the people earning less and less will have less and less money to spend on goods and services. Suppressed demand will suppress output, which will lead to suppressed wages, which will lead to suppressed tax receipts, which will lead to tax rate increases on the 99%, which will lead to less take-home pay (i.e. suppressed wages), which will lead to suppressed demand, etc etc etc. Sooner rather than later, this will affect the 1%: you may have a lot of money on paper, but that money won't be worth anything because there is no economic output to support its value.
The insanity of this "I'm in the top 1% tax bracket because I deserve it, therefore I have no responsibility whatsoever towards the society and economic system that enabled me to reach the top 1% tax bracket" mentality is also reflected in the remedies being proposed to this inequality problem by the few of the 1% who actually understand that this extreme wealth and income inequality is indeed a problem.
One remedy idea appears to be grounded in nostalgia for the Black Plague. Nothing beats a genocidal epidemic in taking care of the great unwashed masses. This being the 21st Century, we could do Ebola instead of Black Plague; it's quicker, spreads faster, and there's no known cure to boot. The downside is that the Ebola virus doesn't choose its next host based on said host's last year's tax returns.
Then there's the inherent contradiction embedded in this 1%-er belief "I'm rich because I deserve it": it implies some sort of determinism. 1%-er wannabe did X, Y and Z, and these actions determined the outcome: 1%-er wannabe became a true 1%-er.
Oi, 1%-ers! This determinism you advertise so much is Marxist, and you didn't even know it! What you're trying to do here is an ex-post-facto real-life application of historical determinism. All of you 1%-ers know what historical determinism is, because all of you have read Das Kapital, right?
So, 1%-ers, you need to pick a side: you're either Marxists, in which case you accept historical determinism and wealth redistribution by means of progressive taxation as canonical economic dogma, or you're not. If you're not Marxists, then your entire marketing bullshit about how you became rich because you deserved it falls apart, and it becomes all too apparent that you just got lucky. It's fine having good luck and fortune in life, but relying on good luck is not a sustainable economic policy for an advanced society.