That's definitely happened to me, too. Like, being mad at people (of any economic strata) for laughing and being happy after I found out that someone dear to me died. They didn't know -- but it's the same category of reaction.
In re: to JpinMilwaukee
as well, meanwhile:
So, a proposal of a rich person paying 70% of their income in taxes isn't bringing them down to the level of the poor?
Um, no. Because the whole point about having that kind of taxes - or rather, note: having these taxes again
, because let me go on a digression first here: they were there before, you know, back under such notoriously liberal presidents like Eisenhower... under Eisenhower, the top tax rate was 91%
! It was 70% or higher all the way up
till Reagan was elected.
So, the whole point would be that there are people, in our world of rapidly increasing income differences, whom you could tax for 70% and they'd still be, to any average-income person's standard, swimming in money. So, no - just literally addressing your point here, making them do so doesnt "bring them down to the level of the poor".
What I see happening in the conversation on this particular count, and I hope that starting out with what may be felt as an insult I'm not immediately making you all stop listening, is a staggering state of denial. It's not specifically you - its endemic. There is seemingly no historical awareness about this. But people. The difference between the richest 10% and the poorest 10% has, over the past 30 years, multiplied
. It has not
been stable. The kind of difference we now see between richest and poorest, both within the US or Europe and between parts of the world, is not
the same as there always was. It's not
some kind of natural balance that will appear in any human society. It has staggered
up, rapidly and drastically, over the past two, three decades.
Any increase of taxes, even to 70% for the top rate, would at the very most bring the difference back partly to what it actually used to be like. In, say, the fifties. There were also rich people then, and poor people - so its not about wanting to bring everyone down to the same level.
Instead, ask yourself this: back in Eisenhower's times, were the richest people grossly underpaid? Were they not enough rewarded for their special merits and skills and efforts? Allow yourself to leave aside the point about "how the system just works", and think freely for the moment about just your personal compass on virtue or fairness or whatever. Back then, too, some of the rich got where they were by working hard, self-discipline, special talents and/or keen planning and insight. And back then, that meant that they ended up, say, five times as rich as the poorest people. Were those proportions, to your personal feeling, unfair? Because they only earned five times as much as the poor, rather than twenty times as much?
, then what would be so especially punitive and unfair, in the moral terms of fairness etc that we are talking about here, about bringing today's differences back to that point, or at least partially?
The economical argument - that it might be fairer, but it just wouldnt work, production and prosperity would collapse, etc, are not at discussion here, though I'd point out that in the fifties too, despite such a high top tax rate, the economy was growing at a healthy speed. But thats not the subject of discussion here. What I want to address here is just the notion that it would be greatly unfair
to the rich to increase taxes back up to the point where they'd only earn as much more as the poor as they did back in the 60s or 70s.
My preference for a 70% top tax rate is not about wanting to make everyone as poor as the poorest - obviously, a 70% tax on the top category would still leave them far richer than anyone remotely poor. It is about some correction, at least, to a system that is very good in optimising production, but as side effect has an ever spiralling increase in difference, in which top incomes just stagger up in some vortex. With no remaining rational relation to any proportional difference in effort, merit or virtue. (No relation unless you do believe that today's top earners, compared to the bottom earners, do work ten or twenty times as hard as those of thirty years ago).
Yes, the law of demand and supply, thats just how the market works. But there is nothing inherently wrong with us, as society, noticing that the economic system that is good, technically, at boosting production and profits, has this side-effect of spiralling contrasts in wealth out of any control, and deciding to check that side-effect and keep it in bounds. It was done all the time, to at least as great an extent as I'm proposing, for decades of Republican as well as Democratic rule, from Roosevelt up until Reagan came into power. Not to "bring down the rich to the level of the poor", but to at least stop the contrast from further chasming out in as rapid a fashion as it is doing now, more than ever.