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Why Should We Tax the Rich?

Why Should We Tax the Rich?

Sam Pizzigati

The orthodoxy that dominates today’s Republican Party — and the ranks of “business-friendly” Democrats — rests on a simple approach to economic policy. Let’s be nice, this orthodoxy holds, to rich people.

Let’s be particularly nice at tax time. Let’s keep taxes on rich people, conservatives advise us, as low as possible. High taxes on high incomes, they argue, discourage entrepreneurship. No one with a great idea for a new business enterprise is going to start that business, their argument goes, if Uncle Sam is just going to tax away the rewards that a new business could bring.

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Why should we tax the rich? Because they are too putrid to eat.


While higher income tax rates prior to what Democrats continue to brag was “bipartisan 1986 tax reform” never cramped the wealthy’s ability to buy all the goods and services they wanted, those higher tax rates DID limit how many politicians the wealthy could own. This is the crux of the matter that the author ignores.

After having seen unparalleled return on investment (ROI) owning the POTUS, SCOTUS and best Congress money can buy during the past three decades, the wealthy now use their tax savings to buy politicians in other nations.

After the GOP finishes stacking the courts with young right wing judges the wealthy will be able to use their tax savings to take any Congressional legislation they don’t like to court and get it overturned. It won’t matter if the entire Congress is progressive, the wealthy will get any legislation they don’t like overturned in court.


While it is true that so-called “conservative orthodoxy” (really a sophistic defense of greed) is false, there is another deeper reason to tax the rich. The society produces wealth by its total action: education, willingness to follow the rules, infrastructure of all kinds, the accumulation of knowledge, and on and on. When one person or group finds ways to extract more wealth than their actual contribution, that is theft…and that is exactly what results in great wealth. The entrepreneur should be compensated at levels appropriate to contribution, as should the others creating the wealth at the ‘hands on’ level, as should the society at large for creating and allowing the conditions that support the entrepreneur – taxes are the best method we have to do that.


Taxation is undemocratic. Oligarchy owned politicians determine who gets taxed.

Direct Democracy

I agree with taxing the rich( it’s way too low now) but what about people who pay no income taxes and still benefit from all these services?

Read my comment above. Wealth is the product of society, not individuals. The economic design concentrates wealth among only a few who are contributors to its production and taxation is one of the workable methods to distribute wealth honestly. Those who do not pay taxes are being compensated (to some extent) by services.

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Wealth is the product of society and individuals who often make passive income off of a product. In addition, many people are not being paid enough and some salaries are stagnant.

What you are confusing is that individuals are the product of society: language, culture, knowledge base, social and personal expectations are all the society being expressed in the individual. (edit: even the belief that the individual is not the product of the society IS the result of socialization into that belief.)

That is true- but part of being in a society is paying taxes. I think personally if someone tries to dodge the system- ( like loopholes offshore for the wealthy) that person should have severe charges put against him or her. Will it happen? I doubt it!

“Wealth is power, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The Golden Rule: “Them with the gold make the rules”.

To ignore that political bribes determine who pays and how much in taxes is paid is to fall for the propaganda that prevents economic democracy and establishes dictatorships. Voluminous and obscure tax laws and tax lawyers ensure that the oligarchy doesn’t pay their fair share.

How can we prevent the rich from centralizing dictatorial power from too much wealth concentration? How can we ignore that the money-power makes the tax laws?

Cap wealth to cap power.

A personal Wealth Cap could be established by yearly direct democratic referendum instead. Any cap excesses could be distributed equally to the public by electronic means.

Direct Democracy

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My answer is, tax the rich more then!

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1st, the poor may not pay income taxes, but in taxes overall, esp at the local level, they pay more than the rich in %. In total taxes, the middle class pays almost 24%, the poor about 18%, the rich about 12%, and corporations about 10% (if the latter pay any at all. These days states and localities are letting corporations come in tax free. Then throw in that with tax deductions they can erase any federal taxes.)
2nd. The poor are not getting paid their fair value and are poor because of unfair labor practices that keep most of them poor. As you stated in your response.
3rd, The US makes sure as economic practice that a certain level of unemployment must be met. That it must be kept over a certain rate (which has changed over the decades.). There are two reasons for this by conservative economists. The 1st is inflation and is tied to the 2nd reason. As unemployment falls, workers are more free to look elsewhere for jobs or to demand higher wages because the labor pool is shrinking. So you have businesses who wish to keep wages low having a reason why to keep unemployment high.
Higher wages are seen as leading to inflation as businesses have to pay more for help and thus raise prices. But if you can keep wages low, the unemployment rate can drop lower. What is needed is to make workers feel that they can’t demand higher wages or look for other jobs. Then wages can be kept lower.

I have one problem on your statement. Your 2nd sentence is not accurate at all. Wealth is not generated by a few, but by the majority. Every worker contributes to making the society wealthy. It is just that a few take advantage of the majority and make their wealth off the labor of others. These people are not paid a fair wage according to the wealth they produce. They are like the serfs who worked for the nobility, the few profited off the majority.
Capitalism is just another form of a feudal serf system. They pay a small wage to the serfs and reap the harvest leaving the serfs with very little. Yet it is the serfs who did the work.

I don’t think you read my comments!

I have read your comments and that quote by you is not the truth. It states that the few are the contributors of production. It ignores all the contributions to production by the workers. And without those workers, there would be no production. It’s like Ayn Ran’s John Galt saying he built the railroad and ignores all the people who worked on it. Galt would be nothing without those workers. And the few who get wealthy would not be wealthy at all without those workers.
If you meant something else, you were not clear.

I bow to your Superior comprehension of my meaning.

We did until Rayguns came along.

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Corportions need to pay high taxes and sign a contract saying they will stay as they are using the resources of a community. ( I know Dream On, right? As far as employment goes- even Lincoln said that as a country we benefit from full employment not the current model which failed.

Perhaps you should have been clearer. It is your own sentence that you wrote that leads one to think you mean only the few contribute to the wealth of the nation.