Redistribution of Wealth

In the midst of a very solid recap of what’s gone on with the debt ceiling and deficit reduction debates, Elizabeth Drew at the New York Review of Books addresses the key flaw of Republican attacks on plans which increase taxes on the rich as socialism:

Finally, the antitax position of many conservatives would seem to be illogical, since they also hate deficits: but their real aim is to reduce or eliminate federal programs. They call efforts to redistribute wealth “socialism,” but have no problem redistributing from the poor and middle class to the wealthy through taxes, as set forth in Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which the House approved on April 15. Under the Ryan plan, the taxes of the richest one percent of Americans would be cut in half, while taxes would be raised on most of the middle class. People earning over $1 million would be taxed at a lower effective rate than the middle class.

I guess part of the point is, sure, taxing the rich to fund programs which help poor, working, and middle class Americans is a redistribution of wealth. But the same goes for raising the taxes on poor, working, and middle class Americans while slashing social spending and giving tax cuts to the rich! There is a class war going on, but to this point it’s really only been fought by wealthy elites against working class people. As a result, the rich are winning and everyone else is losing. The ostensible fight back coming from Democrats is so piddling and inconsequential any sober rich person should just swallow it, for it is a placebo and not a truly bitter pill. Again we’re talking about the accounting for private jets here, not a return to an 80% tax on the top bracket. Perspective would be helpful, though I don’t think it will be forthcoming from wealthy elites.

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