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Apr
24

Remarks on equality from the NYTimes philosophy blog.

Excerpt: “Extreme wealth inequality also leads to the de facto control of government by the rich (plutocracy), and so is incompatible with democracy. For this reason we need to disperse concentrated wealth through property and inheritance taxes, or even better, revise rules that allow excessive concentrations of wealth to build up in the first place. For example, stronger anti-trust regulations,...
Jul
25

The Tea Party, self-interest and the American way.

The American political system operates on the working assumption that the motive of self-interest can be the basis of arriving at a common good. In the American model, this “common good” is defined concretely in terms of the maintenance of those political and economic conditions that allow most citizens to get their basic economic needs in peace and security. So for example, in the present debt-limit...
Jul
22

No man is an island.

My basic argument against the notion that taxes ought be lowered on those with upper incomes is that absurd premises underlie such claims. Some of these premises are intellectually strange, but their real strangeness is to be found in the emotional energy behind them. When I hear these arguments I sense I am in a country where there is difficulty distinguishing reality from fiction, not as if Disney...
Jul
19

Rising pre-tax incomes and falling marginal tax rates for highest earners.

It is true that the wealthy pay a higher overall tax rate than any other group. That is an American tradition. But there is also no question that their tax rates have fallen more than any other group’s over the last three decades. The only reason they are paying more taxes than in the past is that their pretax incomes have risen so rapidly — which is hardly a great rationale for a further tax cut. We...
Jul
15

CBO publishes data: Bush tax cuts haven’t increased economic productivity, but contributed significantly to national debt.

It might have made practical as well as moral sense to argue that tax rates on upper incomes were too high when marginal rates were 70%, or in the 1980 to argue that lowering tax rates might stimulate economic activity. It makes no sense, practically or morally, to make the same argument today, after tax rates on upper incomes, estates, and capital gains have fallen significantly since 1980. The highest...

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