A certain group of rich people over in the United States has demanded that there be a wealth tax. That they themselves should be taxed more.
OK, so maybe there are arguments that there should be a wealth tax – there aren’t any good economic ones but that’s another matter. Maybe those very rich should be paying more in tax – that not actually being the argument against their doing so. The argument against is that the process of getting rich benefits the consumer therefore we don’t want to dissuade people from attempting to get rich.
Sorry, but that is the argument against taxing those rich and wealthy. The existence of Walmart benefits the US consumer by about $250 billion a year. That Sam Walton’s heirs have $150 billion as a capital sum is trivial as compared to the capitalisation – to perhaps $5 trillion – of that benefit. The reason the kiddies get to keep the $150 very large is so that we don’t dissuade the next guy or gal from producing $5 trillion of value for consumers. And that’s it – there’s no righteous, no justice here, it’s pure pragmatism.
But, OK, so they demand that there be these higher taxes upon themselves:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We are writing to call on all candidates for President, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, to support a moderate wealth tax on the fortunes of the richest 1/10 of the richest 1% of Americans — on us. The next dollar of new tax revenue should come from the most financially fortunate, not from middle-income and lower-income Americans.
America has a moral, ethical and economic responsibility to tax our wealth more. A wealth tax could help address the climate crisis, improve the economy, improve health outcomes, fairly create opportunity, and strengthen our democratic freedoms. Instituting a wealth tax is in the interest of our republic.[/perfectpullquote]
Most of that is the purest colei but the most important point is, well, are they walking the walk? As I pointed out some years ago:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]LAST YEAR there were five people in Britain who thought that their taxes were too low. No, this isn’t the number of people who have called for higher taxes. Rather, it is those who were so convinced of the righteousness of state spending that they voluntarily sent extra money to the Treasury.[/perfectpullquote] [perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Unfortunately, we are a little behind America in these things, for we don’t have a central register of all those extra sums sent to be spent by the Government. We don’t know how many fivers have been posted to this or that Ministry, or whether the Office of the Deputy PM has been sent additional sums in gratitude for its services to comedy, because we don’t have an equivalent to the “Gifts to the United States” account, which has been running since 1843. Last year, it received $2,671,628.40; which compares well with the £461,204.95 donated by those five patriotic Britons.[/perfectpullquote]
The rich can just send Uncle Sam a cheque. They’ll even get a thank you note. And if they don’t then what should we think of their demand to be taxed?[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]When the tax’n’spend brigade show us their thank-you notes, we should listen: until then we should ignore them and insist that our money remains, fructifying, in our pockets.[/perfectpullquote]
Quite so – and are they?[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Asked whether the multimillionaires and billionaires signing the letter could voluntarily pay a sum to the government equivalent to the wealth tax, Ms Pritzker Simmons said: “I think that’s a fair point, we could be doing that, but I think the tax policy needs to be fixed by our legislators and policymakers.”[/perfectpullquote]
No, they’re not, are they? Therefore they can bugger off, along with the horse they rode in on.