Before Reagan took office, the top rate on wealth since 1932 never dipped below 63%, and averaged much higher during the same span. When he left office, the top rate was 28%. Today it’s 37%. But that’s only half the story.
The rich found a way around the high rates by mysteriously claiming capital gains belong in a separate, - and you’ll be shocked to learn - much lower bracket (mostly in the 15 to 20% range).
This random loophole (why not tax money made on, say, Tuesdays at the lower rate?) has been the secret sauce for wealth. For example, check out Bill Gates’ annual salary when running Microsoft. How does a guy pulling in a couple hundred thousand a year accumulate tens of billions in net worth? Obviously, through stocks.
Same strategy applies to most CEO’s. By tying their salary to stock performance on those issued to them, these board members and other upper management members are not only beholden to themselves to up the stock price, but to the true bloodsuckers of our country - the mouse-clicking, mega rich ‘investor class’ collecting on bonds, dividends and stock sales. If anything, this unearned income should be taxed at a higher rate than someone who actually works for a living and contributes to productivity.
This type of article usually triggers paid actors at various libertarian and conservative organizations to respond. They’re easy to spot and easier to refute. Watch for arcane arguments on effective rates, tax shelters, percentages of GDP and other nuance to confuse you. Climate change deniers use the same tactic. If you don’t understand what they’re contending, it’s difficult to engage with them. But all you need is common sense, such as, if it didn’t matter what the rates were, why do they fight so hard against them?