If you’re tuned into your social surroundings, you’re likely to hear people arguing over whether raising taxes on the rich would be a good thing or a bad thing for Americans. With election season on its way, the noise and volume are bound to rise.
To prepare for the next time you find yourself faced with the discussion in a bank or convenience store, Mother Jones examines six commonly heard arguments against taxing the rich, and offers six reasonable answers. —ARK
It reduces incentives to work and invest
Experience shows otherwise. As Nancy Folbre points out over at Economix, “average annual rates of growth in gross domestic product in the high tax era between 1950 and 1980 exceeded those of the last 30 years. Increases in the top tax rate under President Bill Clinton were followed by robust economic expansion.”
In the libertarian view, the rich are entitled to their gains because they worked for them. But this ignores how structural changes in the economy such as globalization, financial deregulation, and the rise of the knowledge-based economy have disproportionately rewarded the wealthy. At the same time, we’ve failed to reinvest in government programs that once leveled the playing field, such as financing for community colleges and public universities.