Robert Reich

Why we need to start taxing the rich:

To make the point, Inequality for All introduces us to several families struggling to get by. And it introduces us to Nick Hanauer, CEO of Seattle’s Pacific Coast Feather Company, a bedding manufacturer, and one of the first investors in Amazon. Hanauer says he makes between $10 million and $30 million a year, and he wonders why he pays a tax rate not of 17 per cent (Warren Buffet’s rate) or 13.9 per cent (Mitt Romney’s), but of 10 or 11 per cent.

He argues the economy doesn’t need to leave so much money in the hands of the super-rich. “Even the richest people sleep on only one or two pillows. I have the nicest Audi, but it’s still only one Audi. It’s actually our customers who are the job creators. They are the centre of the economic universe.”

Almost everybody understands that the health of the American economy depends mainly on consumer spending. Yet the debate over taxation and its place in the country’s economic health has paralyzed American democracy.

Arguing in favour of higher taxes on the wealthy in the U.S. is a bit like arguing that there is no god at a Baptist revival. That was evident in 2012 when Hanauer delivered a TEDtalk on the subject — to a standing ovation — and then saw it temporarily buried. It’s a story that shows how difficult it is, even in liberal circles, to shake people’s assumptions.

Hanauer’s TEDtalk begins with this: “It is astounding how significantly one idea can shape a society and its policies,” he said of the notion that taxing the rich hurts the economy. “This idea is an article of faith for Republicans and is seldom challenged by Democrats.” Sure, Hanauer got just a little nasty, when, over a picture of Donald Trump, he said: “When business people take credit for creating jobs, it’s a little like squirrels taking credit for evolution. It’s actually the other way around.” And he did make the mistake of invoking religion: “It’s a small jump from job creator, to the Creator.”

2 thoughts on “Robert Reich

  1. Capitalists who are the 1% despise any sort of graduated income tax system. “From each according to their ability; to each according to their need.” Or “If you own two cloaks give one away.” Any given Capitalist wants it all. King Midas was the sole winner in the game of accumulating all of the wealth. Every Capitalist wants to be the last man standing above all other Capitalists. A graduated income tax system won’t allow that game to be played. Especially one that taxes away every dollar earned and unearned over $250,000, and taxes away every dollar held in an estate upon one’s death.

  2. Republicans actually do not understand the concept of giving back to society. They don’t believe society has given them anything. I guess they all think if they’d been born in Bangladesh they’d still have a nice house and a two-car garage.

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