One of the salient characteristics of our good friends on the port side of politics is their massive class envy and their belief that there is something inherently evil about making lots of money. What most people consider the American way–profiting as a consequence of working hard and doing something that the buying public wants (in a legal and ethical manner, of course)–they view as a sin if the profits that result are eye-popping. In their view, getting rich is A Bad Thing.
Comes now Matthew Yglesias to give voice to this general sentiment with the suggestion that tax rates of up to 95% ought to apply to people making over $10 million. Evidently, the only concern we will face is that lots of baseball players will go to Japan, but that is supposedly balanced out by the fact that “most of the super-rich would ultimately find it a relief to get off the treadmill of status-competition and the not-quite-so-rich would be thrilled to see their betters cut down to size.”
1. How did Yglesias pick the 95% figure? I am guessing it was out of the air.
2. How did Yglesias pick the $10 million figure? Repeat suspicion in Question 1 above.
3. Why does Yglesias think that the only people who will be affected by this kind of sentiment will be baseball players?
4. Why does Yglesias think that somehow, the “super-rich” will find it a relief to have 95% of their income confiscated from them?
5. Why on Earth would any rational person construct tax policy based on the belief that “the not-quite-so-rich would be thrilled to see their betters cut down to size,” seeing as how (a) we can’t speak for the not-quite-so-rich and (b) there is no reason why we should give credence to pathological class envy?
I don’t suspect that Matthew Yglesias will answer this, of course. He is probably busy constructing a way to take toys away from super-toy-endowed infants and redistribute them to the not-quite-so-toy-possessing. In the meantime, per the link above, enjoy Michael Moynihan’s skewering of Yglesias, complete with excellent reader comments like this one, which constitutes yet another question Yglesias will not answer.