Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

To Reduce Inequality, Tax Wealth, Not Income
New York Times ^ | November 18, 2012 | DANIEL ALTMAN

Posted on 11/19/2012 6:03:29 AM PST by reaganaut1

WHETHER you’re in the 99 percent, the 47 percent or the 1 percent, inequality in America may threaten your future. Often decried for moral or social reasons, inequality imperils the economy, too; the International Monetary Fund recently warned that high income inequality could damage a country’s long-term growth. But the real menace for our long-term prosperity is not income inequality — it’s wealth inequality, which distorts access to economic opportunities.

Wealth inequality has worsened for two decades and is now at an extreme level. Replacing the income, estate and gift taxes with a progressive wealth tax would do much more to reduce it than any other tax plan being considered in Washington.

When economists try to measure inequality, they typically focus on income, because the data are most readily accessible. But income is not always a good gauge of economic power. Consider a group of people who all have high incomes but differ widely in their wealth. Who’s going to get into the country club? Who’s going to have the money to finance a new venture? Moreover, income data may not reveal the true economic power of people who are retired, or who receive their pay in securities like stocks and options or use complex strategies to avoid taxes.

Trends in the distribution of wealth can look very different from trends in incomes, because wealth is a measure of accumulated assets, not a flow over time. High earners add much more to their wealth every year than low earners. Over time, wealth inequality rises even as income inequality stays the same, and wealth inequality eventually becomes much more severe.

This is exactly what happened in the United States. A common statistical measure of inequality is the Gini coefficient, a number between 0 and 100 that rises with greater disparities.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: wealthtax
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-62 next last
Who did not see this coming? Encourage low-skilled people to come here, legally or illegally, and then complain about "wealth inequality". A quotation of Jefferson comes to mind.

I'm sure that if a wealth tax comes, it will be on top of an income tax, not instead of it.

1 posted on 11/19/2012 6:03:32 AM PST by reaganaut1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

No wonder they’re going out of business.


2 posted on 11/19/2012 6:06:12 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (In the game of life, there are no betting limits)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1
This will never happen -- the Kennedys and the Pelosis and the Rockefllers and the Heinz-Kerrys will never permit such a thing to pass.

Only the suckers who actually work for a living are to be plucked.

3 posted on 11/19/2012 6:06:17 AM PST by Cincinatus (Omnia relinquit servare Rempublicam)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1
As horrible as this idea is, as much as it creates perverse incentives to spend and not save, at least it would hit hypocrites like Warren Buffett and other “patriotic millionaires” who already have a pot of money in the bank and want everyone else’s income taxed.
4 posted on 11/19/2012 6:06:36 AM PST by Opinionated Blowhard ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

If you want to see the Rats bail out on tax increases..the GOP should propose a wealth tax. All those trust fund babies and billionaires would be on the phone to DC so fast.
One thing he does overlook..is that we do have a partial wealth tax..it is real estate tax..plus dividend tax tends to be related to wealth.


5 posted on 11/19/2012 6:11:26 AM PST by Oldexpat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

Once ‘the people’ (read the state) possess all the wealth, the Marxist revolution is complete!

Who controls the means of production, (land , factories, etc.) controls the nation.


6 posted on 11/19/2012 6:11:39 AM PST by LucianOfSamasota (Tanstaafl - its not just for breakfast anymore...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

A tax on net worth would be better than an income tax. However hiding tangible and liquid assets is 100 times easier than hiding income. End all individual federal taxes and go back to tariffs and user fees.


7 posted on 11/19/2012 6:13:36 AM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldexpat

This is the same idea that causes people to have to sell family farms or small business to pay death tax. No thank you. If the government needs revenue it isn’t because its not taxing enough, its because it is spending too much.


8 posted on 11/19/2012 6:16:24 AM PST by bk1000 (A clear conscience is a sure sign of a poor memory)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Cincinatus

Actually, we had such a thing in Florida. In lieu of a state income tax, there was this creation called an intangibles tax that was levied on all personal financial assets. Each year, you toted up the value of your cash, savings and checking accounts, stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and any other monetary instrument (retirement savings were exempted) and paid a small percentage (around 1%-2%)of that amount. The system was scrapped several years back due to enforcement difficulties.

I think imposing a similar assessment on rich DemocRATS is a fine idea, but at a much higher percentage (say 25% annually). Dillweeds like Buffett and Gates don’t have much in the way of real income, so they can piously (and hypocritically) talk about raising income taxes on everyone else. I suspect they’d start singing a different tune once their wealth and assets were targetted and they actually had some skin in the game.


9 posted on 11/19/2012 6:18:39 AM PST by Arm_Bears (The MSM lies about conservatives, and it lies about liberals.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: LucianOfSamasota
Once ‘the people’ (read the state) possess all the wealth, the Marxist revolution is complete!

Once "the people" possess all the wealth, it's all just parasites finishing off the long-dead carcass.

10 posted on 11/19/2012 6:18:39 AM PST by Lou L (Health "insurance" is NOT the same as health "care")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

WOW -

“From each according to their means to each according to their needs.” - NYT, Obama, Marx.

The mask is coming off.


11 posted on 11/19/2012 6:19:33 AM PST by Triple (Socialism denies people the right to the fruits of their labor, and is as abhorrent as slavery)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

i wasn’t able to find reader comments.

am i going blind or do they not want to hear what people have to say in about the piece?


12 posted on 11/19/2012 6:20:51 AM PST by mreerm
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1
To Reduce Inequality, Tax Wealth, Not Income

No. Tax consumption, not wealth or income.

13 posted on 11/19/2012 6:21:29 AM PST by DesertSapper (Becoming more libertarian by the day)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

As night follows day, proposals to tax wealth will leave us with a permanent tax on wealth AND on income. The result will be bigger government, which is the Time’s real objective. But this proposes that society and the economy would be better off when government seizes $1.00 from the private sector and spends it on the welfare-warfare State.

What has previous spending given us? ObamaPhones and Solyndra.


14 posted on 11/19/2012 6:22:04 AM PST by theBuckwheat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

Is Narcissim more about wealth or power. Soros worships money and power, but which one does he worship more? Barry likes power, but is too lazy to work hard at it.


15 posted on 11/19/2012 6:23:34 AM PST by King Moonracer (Bad lighting and cheap fabric, that's how you sell clothing.....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

Income/wealth inequality is a phony issue designed to rationalize hatred of the wealthy and theft from high earners. If my neighbor makes 100X as much as I do it has no effect on my income, freedom or lifestyle. In England they used this justification to steal 95% of income from high earners. It didnt increase revenue, so they abandoned it. Leftys never learn.


16 posted on 11/19/2012 6:25:07 AM PST by Brooklyn Attitude (Obama being re-elected is the political equivalent of OJ being found not guilty.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DesertSapper

Yep. Consumption tax, and a consumption tax alone, would be the real only fair tax.

Income taxes punish hard work and tax the measure of your contribution to the economy (your salary).

Wealth taxes and investment taxes punish another input to the economy, because without investment, we have no economy.

Consumption tax taxes/punishes how much you take OUT of the economy.


17 posted on 11/19/2012 6:26:23 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1; All

OBAMANATION COMMUNISM

Inequality is the primary motivator for the athlete on the field of any sport.
“I can win.”
Inequality is the primary motivator for the newly hired worker.
“I can improve my skills with this company.”
Inequality is the primary motivator for an inventor.
“I can build a better product.”

Without inequality there will be no fear of failure.
Without inequality there will be no grades at school,
No discipline at home,
No scores at a sports event,
No hope for change.

All will be equal
In the never-never land of Zombie Obamanation.
The ointment of Communist Equality
Will stifle all that it touches - - - .


18 posted on 11/19/2012 6:27:19 AM PST by Graewoulf ((Traitor John Roberts' Obama"care" violates Sherman Anti-Trust Law, AND the U.S. Constitution.))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinatus
This will never happen -- the Kennedys and the Pelosis and the Rockefllers and the Heinz-Kerrys will never permit such a thing to pass.

Actually, they would - and quickly. When you get to a certain point, the amount of money you have in the bank is not the key issue. You're not consuming that wealth - you're using it to generate income. You need the income from it to live the lifestyle you want. If you institute a wealth tax and reduce the income tax, they might be better off for the rest of their lives. Yes, the principal would eventually be consumed - but not for many years, and in the meantime they get a greater income after taxes.

The real problem is that the really rich each have a lot of wealth, but there still aren't that many of them. The absolute quantity of wealth is greatest in the sum of all the upper middle class - those who have put money aside for retirement. The Pelosis of the world want access to all that 401K money. This is absolutely a ploy to capture that wealth.

And I'd bet all the wealth that I actually do have that they'll work out the law that seizes 401k funds in a way that establishes enough loopholes to shield their own wealth anyway. It'll be Obamacare all over again, with government workers and unions exempted from the rules that apply to the rest of us.
19 posted on 11/19/2012 6:27:44 AM PST by Phlyer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Cincinatus
This will never happen -- the Kennedys and the Pelosis and the Rockefllers and the Heinz-Kerrys will never permit such a thing to pass.

ahhhh, but Dr. Frankenstein always had this funny way of losing control of the monster once he had built it.


20 posted on 11/19/2012 6:28:35 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

The Slimes has really jacked up the liberal, progressive redistribution fight since the election.


21 posted on 11/19/2012 6:29:18 AM PST by immadashell
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

Actually that might not be a bad idea. It would shut up The Gates and Warren Buffet and George Soros for while...either that or drive them out of the country. The reason why all these billionaires claim to be for higher income taxes is because none of them pay any income tax. They pay Capital Gains. The higher the income tax is on high earners the more exclusive their little club becomes and the harder it is for anyone else anywhere to attain their level of wealth.


22 posted on 11/19/2012 6:29:27 AM PST by pgkdan (We are witnessing the modern sack of Rome. The barbarians have taken over.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1
To Reduce Inequality, Tax Wealth, Not Income

Tax CRIME! (not income)

23 posted on 11/19/2012 6:29:46 AM PST by ROCKLOBSTER (Celebrate "Republicans Freed the Slaves" Month)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1
To Reduce Inequality, Tax Wealth, Not Income

What's so great about reducing 'inequality'?

Seriously ... this is pure marxist class warfare ... steal from the rich and give to the poor party members. "Inequality" in outcome is the right and necessary result of inequality in effort.

24 posted on 11/19/2012 6:30:14 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

The whole premise of the article is Marxist, as several have already noted.


25 posted on 11/19/2012 6:32:25 AM PST by EternalVigilance (America's creed: Our rights come from God, not men. Government exists to secure those rights.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Arm_Bears
It would be reasonable to pretax the estates of those like Buffett and Gates who protect their assets from government confiscation by funding tax exempt foundations. Both those guys have promised a combined fortune in excess of $100 billion. If their assets were liquidated, the capital gains due would be enormous. Upon their deaths, there would be further shares for government coffers

Perhaps a smart plan would be for government to require a pre-payment of the value of the foregone capgains and estate taxes to be remitted prior to establishing the tax exempt foundation. At least we'd be able to make honest men of those vocal tax advocates.

26 posted on 11/19/2012 6:33:19 AM PST by Sgt_Schultze (A half-truth is a complete lie)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: ArrogantBustard

Wow, good catch...

What is the virtue or reducing inequality or equalizing outcomes. Inherently, with such a goal, you’ll reward bad decisions and slothful behavior while punishing good decisions and diligent behavior.

There’s no way around that.


27 posted on 11/19/2012 6:33:37 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

We need to stop taxing production as well.

I wonder if any other nation taxes inventory on the factory floor the way we do?


28 posted on 11/19/2012 6:35:19 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1
Say you have two brothers. One spends wisely, invests, only borrows to buy things which could make more money and generally lives frugally. The other spends his income (and any money he can borrow) on wine, women and song and lives a life of general debauchery. Which one should the government tax and therefore discourage his activities? It's like killing the fatted calf for the prodigal son when he comes back to the house and demands his brother's inheritance too instead of contritely begging for any work.

Tax consumption, not income or property.

29 posted on 11/19/2012 6:37:28 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Big Bird is a brood parasite: laid in our nest 43 years ago and we are still feeding him.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

any sentient being that takes ten minutes to think this one through, will simply laugh. Just how would the government liquidate the “wealth”, so they can redistribute it? Or would the government just make in-kind transfers? Either way, the transactions costs would eat up all of the hoped for revenue, and the assets would no longer be productive. The Left assumes that incentives mean nothing, when they mean everything.


30 posted on 11/19/2012 6:37:46 AM PST by cdcdawg
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinatus
This will never happen -- the Kennedys and the Pelosis and the Rockefllers and the Heinz-Kerrys will never permit such a thing to pass. Only the suckers who actually work for a living are to be plucked.

The wealth of the elites will be shielded in foundations and 501(c) "charitable" organizations like the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

As an example, I hadn't know until now that the NFL is explicitly exempt for corp taxes under 501(c) sub-paragraph 6.

If you really want to make a dent in the national debt, withdraw the tax-exempt status of 501(c) organizations. Of course, the politician who tries that should ensure his life insurance is fully paid up.

31 posted on 11/19/2012 6:39:28 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (political correctness is communist thought control, disguised as good manners)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: MrB

When dealing with the leftists in Big Media, I find that one should always look for the hidden assumptions and covert premises. They’re not content to control the “what, where, when, and how” of the national conversation but must control the “why” as well.


32 posted on 11/19/2012 6:40:12 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

So, is this not a method of taxing our IRAs and other pension funds? Those of who think it would be nice to hit the Buffets and other Lib-Dems, need to realize that this could easily be extended to home values as well!

Very ugly!


33 posted on 11/19/2012 6:41:06 AM PST by SES1066 (Government is NOT the reason for my existence but it is the road to our ruin!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

As long as they start with Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z, I’m good with it.


34 posted on 11/19/2012 6:41:44 AM PST by Jim Noble (Diseases desperate grown are by desperate appliance relieved or not at all.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ArrogantBustard

Oh, yeah, the Proverbs state “don’t answer a fool in his folly”, but to question the premises.

I’m fully aware of that and still started “wrestling with the pig” with arguing what kind of tax would be better.


35 posted on 11/19/2012 6:43:06 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

Not that the Constitution matters to these people, but the 16th Amendment only specifically authorizes an income tax. Wealth taxes would have to be apportioned by states. Also taxing capital is one of the worst ideas ever.


36 posted on 11/19/2012 6:45:42 AM PST by garbanzo (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


37 posted on 11/19/2012 6:49:47 AM PST by RedMDer (May we always be happy and may our enemies always know it. - Sarah Palin, 10-18-2010)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

To decrease inequality, tax the political ruling class elite for the benefits that they voted for themselves. Cost of living pay raises. Golden pension plans and health insurance plans.


38 posted on 11/19/2012 6:50:42 AM PST by I want the USA back
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

From “You did not build it!” to “You do not own it!”


39 posted on 11/19/2012 6:52:40 AM PST by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Graewoulf

Good points. We should not concede that the goal is to remove inequality. The goal is to improve everyone’s standard of living


40 posted on 11/19/2012 6:53:16 AM PST by plain talk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: MrB
Hmmm ... I just read Proverbs 26 ... all of it.

You might want to consider the recent election, its participants, and its outcome ... and then read Proverbs 26 in its entirety. I think it's a perfect description of the current American political scene.

41 posted on 11/19/2012 6:53:59 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: First_Salute

When “you didn’t build that” was hot in the news,
I could not get a leftist to discuss what he policies he was trying to justify by stating that.

They simply denied that he was trying to justify policy, and was stating the concept that the society and infrastructure made success possible.

As for why he would state this (to justify a societal claim on the wealth of the successful), they would not even think about that, much less discuss it.


42 posted on 11/19/2012 7:00:09 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: Cincinatus

Perhaps those wealthy who are actually trying to good will get a waiver. Those involved in the green economy or those who support expanded female reproductive health services are most deserving.


43 posted on 11/19/2012 7:09:49 AM PST by impimp
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: plain talk

God has given each of us different talents.
How we use these talents is dependent on each of us.
We are to be held accountable for our actions and inactions.

Communism is a lazy pipe-dream that ignores the reality of differences in each of our talents.
Thus the lazy take, but do not give.
The gullible give under pain of guilt from the lazy,
And thus there is NO Joy accrued to either the giver or the taker.
God loves a joyful giver.


44 posted on 11/19/2012 7:25:48 AM PST by Graewoulf ((Traitor John Roberts' Obama"care" violates Sherman Anti-Trust Law, AND the U.S. Constitution.))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1
Liquidate Equity Holdings,
Move all measurable wealth to off-shore,
drop to to a physical cash model, or
move to barter.

There, fixed it.
Give no place hold for confiscation efforts

Oh yes, M2 Multipliers drop below 1 (Negative ROI)
New Investment, and hence, Employment, goes Bye-Bye
And Capitalism Fails.

When the economies move to a “World Bank”
Go Galt

45 posted on 11/19/2012 7:26:03 AM PST by HangnJudge
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

I want me some Sulzberger fortune. Gimme gimme gimme!


46 posted on 11/19/2012 7:30:42 AM PST by Oratam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

I want me some Sulzberger fortune. Gimme gimme gimme!


47 posted on 11/19/2012 7:31:04 AM PST by Oratam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

Inflation is a very effective wealth tax.


48 posted on 11/19/2012 7:38:04 AM PST by desertfreedom765
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #49 Removed by Moderator

To: reaganaut1

If I remember correctly, Hillary broached this idea during her campaign. A classic way to make everyone “equal”. Don’t tax their earnings tax what they have.


50 posted on 11/19/2012 7:45:13 AM PST by anoldafvet (One million people attended Obama's inauguration, at least 14 of them missed work)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-62 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson