Today’s New York Times op-ed piece (link at bottom) was a real spirit-raiser, authored by two very clever 1%-ers. What a crack-up! You funny, funny rich people! Who knew you had it in you?
A tip of the top hat to you!
It proposes a switch to the Brandeis method to reform taxes on our rich.
Instead of using rates that rise rapidly at the higher income end (like a ski:)
…a Brandeis tax would work like this:
“Tax the rich just like the rest of us until they make ‘this’ many times more than the average person’s income. Any extra above that is taken for taxes. (We’re talking the “median” average: The income that half of us make more than, and half of us less than.
As the op ed piece points out: When the economy does well, everyone can make more money. The gap between rich and middle-class never again increases.
“Importantly, our Brandeis tax does not target excessive income…it only caps inequality. Billionaires could double their current income without the tax kicking in — as long as the median income also doubles… Indeed, the tax gives job creators an extra reason to make sure that corporate wealth does in fact trickle down.”
The appeal of the stop-the-Gap-Growth is undeniably seductive. But here is the article’s hidden humor agenda:
Today, the 1% are making 36 times more income (!) than the average income of the 99%.
Not thirty-six percent more than you. Thirty-six TIMES more than you.
So, if you’re the average, and you’re making $27,000, your very bestest friend, Bitsy Carnegie, is pulling down less than a million bucks a year, the poor thing: She’s making only $972,000 annually. (You’d think she could at least pick up the tab for your Starbucks once in a while, the cheapskate.)
When Reagan was president, the 1% made only 12 times what the 99% did. Betsy really WAS poor, then (at only $324,000 a year, none of the other Carnegies would even speak to her).
The reason the op ed piece is so funny is because its authors, who are rich guys themselves, are proposing to do NOTHING to get things back closer to that 12 times again. This is what they’re saying:
“Hey!–And while we’re revising the tax code to protect you 99-percenters, here’s a great idea: Let’s write the new tax code to make TODAY’S gap between the haves and have-nots PERMANENT! Keep today’s HUGE gap forever and EVER!”
Ain’t they a hoot?
And why should we want to keep the outrageous status quo, rather than introduce some graduated adjustments to get things back to a more reasonable pre-economic-rape balance (and perhaps apply the monies gained in a productive manner: Infrastructure, anyone)?
“Umm…’cause that’s the size of the gap right now, and…uh…’cause we rich folk really like the money we have right now…”
Well, I know I’m convinced. How about you?
Tsk, tsk, you bad canines. You little woofies hiding behind lambskin. You won’t catch us out with tricks like this helpful proposal. We-all can hear your coins chinking a mile off–but you did have this lambikins bleating away with the giggles.The Op-Ed Piece
Seriously, the NYT piece’s authors deserve kudos for their concept, and I don’t really think they were trying to pull the outer portion of their disguises over our sheepy eyes. It may be, however, that when they suggested keeping the current 36-times gap, they did so not only to help reduce opposition to their new approach, but also because their vision was unconsciously clouded by their Nieman Marcus money-colored glasses. SO hard to see clearly out of those!
Note that an alternate for the Brandeis tax method is to, instead of basing the tax on the median average, to base it on the income of the lowest earners.