Thought on Income Inequality

If the very rich got that way through special access to government power, then why is the solution to tax them more, and not just to reduce government power?

And if the very rich got that way through hard work and innovation, then why the hell are we proposing to take resources out of these people's hands?


  1. gn:

    Taxing the innovators and hard workers will ensure they innovate more and work harder for the benefit of the folks who don't... right?

  2. Henry Bowman:

    As long as a huge river of money runs through DC, there will be folks trying to put their buckets in the river to get some of the money. The only solution is to dry up the river.

  3. me:

    Taxation is a red herring; if any new tax laws are actually passed, they are little likely to impact the really rich. All us poor folk getting by on less than 50M a year are more likely to bear the brunt. I for instance would have serious trouble offshoring my earnings.

    Bit more worrying:

    Now, that's inequality I have real trouble with.

  4. Smock Puppet, Piloting The Economic Seas Betwixt Scilla and Charybdis:

    >>> The only solution is to dry up the river.

    The really *fun* part is that about the only way to do that is to dam it up using the bodies of bureaucrats and politicians.

    Let's get busy!


  5. Xmas:

    Actually, I would say that the call isn't just for more taxation, they also want to increase government power.

    I don't think the Occupy people really understand how things work.

  6. Another guy named Dan:

    What I find ironic is that the same people who have spent two generations condemning society for being overly concerned with money and power anre now condemning society because they don't have enough of either.

  7. Craig Loehle:

    The first bombing of Wall Street happened over 100 yrs ago. People who do not feel like working resent those who do work hard. That is not to deny aspects of the system are rigged, but this would not be cured by increasing taxes or more socialism. It would be cured by ending backroom deals between gov and corp (and fundraisers). Corruption is the problem, not capitalism. Forced income equality is a recipe for stagnation.

  8. John:

    At Gettysburg, the orator Edward Everett said of Lincoln's speech that he wished he had done as well in two hours (speaking) as Lincoln had in two minutes.

    The truth, in a nutshell. Truly, brevity is the soul of wit.

    well done.

  9. Pat:

    I've often wondered why people who complain about "the rich" (people and corporations) having an undue influence in government blame the rich and not the people in government that can be bought. If something is for sale, someone's gonna buy.

  10. Colin:

    The response you would likely get from the Occupiers is that the rich got there by their own dishonest labor (theft and exploitation) and only cement their power through the government. Whether this view even remotely reflects reality is another issue.

  11. Not Sure:

    "If the very rich got that way through special access to government power, then why is the solution to tax them more, and not just to reduce government power?"

    Because if you tax the rich more, you get to spend their money on stuff you want to do*. If government power is reduced, you can't do all the stuff you want to do*.

    *"Stuff you want to do" = "Force peole to do things you think they should because they're too stupid to understand what's best for them and need Smart People like you to manage their lives"

  12. steve:

    Useful Idiots

    In political jargon, the term useful idiot was used to describe Soviet sympathizers in Western countries. The implication is that though the people in question naïvely thought themselves an ally of the Soviet Union, they were actually held in contempt and were being cynically used. The term has been extended to other people perceived as propagandists for a cause they do not understand.

  13. markm:

    If the very rich got that way through special access to government power, what makes you think that they won't use that power to ensure they have tax loopholes?

  14. Not Sure:

    "If the very rich got that way through special access to government power..."

    This is the thing that always puzzles me when people insist that the government *do something* about the problem of rich people, if the existence of such really are a problem to begin with.

    I mean- if the rich are able to benefit themselves using access to government power, seems to me the antidote is to restrict government power.

    Kind of like the folks who wrote the Constitution intended...

  15. Scott:

    Once you examine "Innovation" enough, you realize that it often has little to do with individual nature. I think you're right. I think we should demolish the public school system. Every state school in existence? Sell it to profit-seeking corporations. Elementary schools? Screw it, turn 'em into factories. Bombs that do nothing to improve the general well being? Keep 'em coming.

    Yes. Then everyone's welfare would definitely improve.

    The government has a task: Promoting the general well-being of this country. It needs a budget to do so. You and your business would be nothing without the public roads and human capital that exists.

  16. Not Sure:

    The government would be nothing without the resources it confiscates from the private sector.

  17. IGotBupkis, Unicorn Fart Entrepreneur:

    >>> If the very rich got that way through special access to government power, then why is the solution to tax them more, and not just to reduce government power?

    Because the ACTUAL goal, of increasing government power, is unstated in favor of the politically acceptable goal, which is two bring fairness and light, along with unicorn farts, to one and all.

  18. Gil:

    Isn't it true people would be rich in a truly free market but not superrich because high income signals others join in which in turn will drive incomes down to a tolerable minimum? In other words, the only way anyone can become superrich is via restricting market competition?

  19. napablogger:

    talk about twisting something backwards, they got their money by being crooks and the government did nothing and continues to do nothing. That's the government power they have, if that is what you call it. I haven't seen anyone say that they got what they have by government power, except you, whatever that means.

    They are corrupt cheaters who use other people's money, ie taxpayers, to do it. Surely that is not that difficult to understand.

  20. Colin:

    @ nappablogger: Your complaint is that these "corrupt cheaters" get taxpayer money through the government unfairly. However, your solution is to have the government take and redistribute more money. Can you see a vicious cycle here? As long as you have the government in the business of redistributing money a lot of it will necessarily end up going to those who don't deserve it. Any law you make to take from the corrupt and give the the needy can, and eventually will, be used to take from the productive and give to the corrupt.

  21. Ted Rado:

    There is income inequality because of lack of effort and to a lesser degree, lack of smarts.

    If you are not academically gifted, you can learn a trade, then start your own business. If you go to university and take snap courses, don't complain that others who study more demanding subjects make more money. When I hear engineers complain that doctors make more money, I say go to med school. When I hear PE majors complain thet engineers make more money, I say go to engineering school. There is no free lunch.

    After learning a trade or going to university, some people work more dilligently at their profession than others. They then go on to be more successful.

    If you do not exert yourself, don't complain that the guy who does winds up better off!

    The end result is that those who apply themselves, pursue their careers diligently, and continue to improve themselves, prosper more than those who do not. No big!

  22. napablogger:

    Colin, I didn't say anything about redistributing anything. It is true that some big corporations are cheating on their taxes, I also think it is true we are never going to reduce deficits significantly without more taxes.

    Who should pay them, poor or rich?

  23. napablogger:

    Ted, there are millions of hard working people who have lost their jobs and have been unemployed for years. You probably know some yourself. This idea that poor people are lazy or something is astounding. Talk about making excuses for protecting the wealthy.

    The point with OWS is that there is corruption that is being ignored by the government. Big time. In my home town a financial guy ripped off some people to the tune of thousands of dollars. He is in jail. Wall Street ripped off people to the tune of billions, and they get a fine or ignored completely.

  24. me:

    The vogue term for this is the scope/severity paradox: harm caused to more people appears less worthy of punishment. It is fascinating if you do the actual math for the housing bubble crisis to, say, theft. We have no issue sending people to prison for years due to theft of <$1000 while the cost of the bailouts (13 trillion total committed so far per a rough 130 million actual tax payers) comes to more than 100k per tax payer. That's pretty drastic, compared to the near complete lack of even trying to hold folks accountable.

  25. Not Sure:

    "It is true that some big corporations are cheating on their taxes..."

    Do you suppose it's possible there might be individuals who are cheating on their taxes, too?

    "The point with OWS is that there is corruption that is being ignored by the government."

    I'm sure there is. The solution isn't giving the government even more power, however.

  26. MJ:

    they got their money by being crooks and the government did nothing and continues to do nothing.

    Define "they". And please be specific. "Wall Street" is not an acceptable answer.

  27. Ted Rado:


    I agree that there are many that lost their jobs through no fault of their own. For them we all have much sympathy.

    My point was that if you study something for which there is no commercial demand, you will do poorly. If you do not continue to apply yourself throughout your career, you will be at the head of the latoff list. All this is under one's own control. Thus, to a large extent you are master of your own destiny. One needs to manage their career wisely, from start of education to retirement.

    There will always be Madoffs and other crooks among us. Try as we might, this will never disappear. You can't blame those types on your own poor choices in life.

    Again, my point is that one must make wise decisions and maximize one's chances of a good outcome in life. Yes, it may well happen that despite one's best efforts, things still don't work out. Nothing is guarenteed in life.

  28. ianxm:

    this is a false choice. the left will claim that the 1% got rich by robbing the 99%, despite the govt's best effort to stop them. if only the govt was more powerful it could protect the helpless 99% from the robber barons we buy stuff from.