Re: G & J, in cahoots?

From: Dave Long (
Date: Fri Mar 23 2001 - 01:33:56 PST

Now, our tax burden may well be too high[0],
but that's not the argument here. What we
are arguing is simply the statement that:

A/ the progressive tax system creates a gap between haves and have-nots; it
B/ penalizes Jeff's demographic relative to the uber-rich, because he
C/ must work several times as hard to double net gain, because
D/ his demographic faces an aggregate tax rate of 66%, and
E/ doubling income requires working twice as hard,
F/ but the uber-rich invest capital instead of paying taxes

F: taking Jeff's word for it: true
E: false
D: false (66% is half again as large as 44%) [1]
C: false
B: true if F (even though not C)
A: true if B, therefore true if F, but
                if F is true, then the tax system is regressive, so
                        that'd be inconsistent and can't imply A.

Can someone azeciously defend A?


[0] Jeff will say, "any tax is too high",
and I would say something else. We can
disagree there; none of that matters as
we take the current tax burden as fixed,
and are merely deciding how it will be
allocated demographically:
        progressive (tax larger fortunes more)
        flat (tax dollars, not entities)
        regressive (tax larger populations more)
We only look at the shape of the curve,
discussions of total burden are about
the area under it.

[1] Revised figure:
        36% w/o property tax
         4% JB's estimate for property tax
        40% ($300K/yr, single)

Around here, properties are often assessed
based on their sale prices from decades ago,
not at current market value, so that 4% is
likely an upper bound.


> Net result: more and more of the wealth accumulates in the hands of
> a dwindling-by-attrition already-uber-rich crowd, the gap between
> haves and have-nots widens, all a direct result of a progressive
> system which most onerously penalizes the demographic just below true
> financial independence.


> Do I *really* want to fight and claw my way to $2X a year in regular
> income when I'm living comfortably, if not the life of Croesus, on
> $X a year consulting? (BTW, it's all the built-in costs I'm talking
> about; the aggregate tax rate across the board once income's into
> six figures is about 2/3, so I'm going to put in *at least* double
> the effort to actually achieve a net gain of about 33%.


> When you move it into business, there's all kinds of ways to grow
> your asset value without paying taxes: just grow aggressively and
> avoid taking profits to the bottom line.

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