“The less you do, the stranger it all seems.”
Dallas Clayton

Wealth Tax

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I arrived at this article by following a link from Jeff Sachs. In talks about taxing wealth rather then income:

“Wealth inequality has worsened for two decades and is now at an extreme level. Replacing the income, estate and gift taxes with a progressive wealth tax would do much more to reduce it than any other tax plan being considered in Washington.

When economists try to measure inequality, they typically focus on income, because the data are most readily accessible. But income is not always a good gauge of economic power … Moreover, income data may not reveal the true economic power of people who are retired, or who receive their pay in securities like stocks and options or use complex strategies to avoid taxes.

Trends in the distribution of wealth can look very different from trends in incomes, because wealth is a measure of accumulated assets, not a flow over time. High earners add much more to their wealth every year than low earners. Over time, wealth inequality rises even as income inequality stays the same, and wealth inequality eventually becomes much more severe.

American household wealth totaled more than $58 trillion in 2010. A flat wealth tax of just 1.5 percent on financial assets and other wealth like housing, cars and business ownership would have been more than enough to replace all the revenue of the income, estate and gift taxes, which amounted to about $833 billion after refunds. Brackets of, say, zero percent up to $500,000 in wealth, 1 percent for wealth between $500,000 and $1 million, and 2 percent for wealth above $1 million would probably have done the trick as well.”

This reminded of Charles Eisenstein’s theme of negative interest where accumulated wealth gradually loses its value. A wealth tax sounds like negative interest that is diverted to finance government – or as Jeff Sachs calls it “the price of civilization“:

[youtube http://youtu.be/wf530FLMw3w]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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