Comment on wealth taxes more failed ‘bootstrap’ economics

The recent column by Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle is a great example of the “common-sense” misdirection on wealth taxes popular in neoliberal circles. She (sarcastically?) implies that these taxes will literally take billionaire’s yachts and homes and giving them to the poor. Her solution? “Aggressively taxing consumption.”

Unfortunately, as she correctly points out, ultra-wealthy people consume very little as a proportion of their total wealth. There are only so many yachts one needs, after all. Poor people, on the other hand, spend a much higher amount on goods and services, and sales/value-added taxes don’t fluctuate depending on the purchaser’s total wealth. They are flat, and therefore regressive. They hit poor people harder.

This privileged take isn’t surprising, as conservatives like McArdle have consistently trumpeted a “bootstrap” American mythology which simply doesn’t exist anymore. As the World Economic Forum rightly pointed out, the American Dream is alive and well; in Denmark.

Most wealth taxes that I’ve seen proposed will affect a very small percentage of this newspaper’s readership. Biden’s income tax hikes would affect those who make more than $400,000, for example, while Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax would only hit those with more than $50 million in assets. This somehow strikes people as “unfair,” neglecting to understand the deep subsidies the government has provided to allow the gain of that wealth in the first place.

It’s time to reject the hazy logic of trickle-down economics and bootstrap economics, which have allowed billionaires and corporations to effectively capture our economy and government. Don’t allow McArdle’s poorly argued talking points distract you from the core of real American values: egalitarianism and social mobility.

Johnny Miller

Mukilteo

Talk to us

More in Opinion

toon
Editorial cartoons for Thursday, Aug. 5

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Abel Villafan, center, looks on as his wife Maria, right, gets the second shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from Cecilia Valdovinos, left, Thursday, March 25, 2021, at the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic in Toppenish, Wash. Villafan, who drives tractors and other machinery at Roy Farms, a hops and fruit producer in Moxee, Wash., also got his second shot Thursday. In Washington state, seasonal workers who are beginning to arrive to join year-round employees to work on hops farms and in cherry and apple orchards became eligible for the vaccine earlier in the month. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Editorial: What’s it going to take to get more vaccinated?

The vaccines are safe, effective and our best hope to keep kids in schools, learning and healthy.

Comment: Fed up, businesses, employers are mandating vaccines

Frustrated by a lack of government mandates, businesses and employers are setting their own rules.

Comment: Trump, tax lawyers wrong about Congress’ oversight

A judge could rule soon on the release of Trump’s tax returns to Congress; and the American people.

Comment: Gender, race, politics gets an independent news site

The 19th started during a year of monumental change and used that change to focus its coverage.

Vaccine hesitancy came before Trump

Regarding Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker July 26 column on Capitol rioters… Continue reading

Olympics focused too much on nationalism

I’m sick of the Olympics. They’ve become a war between nations who… Continue reading

FILE - In this May 21, 2021 file photo, a person holds a mask while walking outside in Philadelphia.  New evidence showing the delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox has prompted U.S. health officials to consider changing advice on how the nation fights the coronavirus. Recommending masks for everyone and requiring vaccines for doctors and other health care providers are among measures the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering, Friday, July 30. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Editorial: Our covid battle isn’t over; we must again mask up

The delta variant spreads even among whose who are vaccinated, meaning a return to masking indoors.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Wednesday, Aug. 4

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Most Read