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The rich are different from you and me. For one thing, they’re rich.
Among the super-rich, though, there tends to be a peculiar sense that their net worth is a testament to their true worthiness. Thus, they seem to cling desperately to the very idea of being extremely wealthy. This leads to one specific difference between them and us: Most of us favor a wealth tax to help bridge the gaping chasm of inequality in our society; the rich do not.
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Indeed, we hear shrieks of abject horror and cries of doom coming from corporate board rooms and other defenders of the plutocratic order. It would be comical if they weren’t so pathetic. They exclaim that such a tax will “destroy” entrepreneurial motivation, “sap’ innovation, “punish’ success, and – get this – “spur” a wave of divorces! The psyches of the rich are so fragile, goes this line of bull, that a tiny tax on people with more than $50 million in wealth would keep them from getting out of bed in the morning.
Jamie Dimon, a billionaire Wall Street banker, disingenuously asserts that super-wealthy people like him would “be happy to pay more in taxes.” But he fears the government would just squander it on giveaways “to interest groups and stuff like that.” I have to admit that Jamie does know his “stuff” – after all, he weaseled billions of dollars from us taxpayers to bail out his bank during the 2007 Wall Street crash. Far from squandering revenues on such welfare cases as Dimon, those supporting the wealth tax specifically call for the money to fund universal access to higher education, free healthcare for All, restoration and expansion of our national infrastructure, and other direct efforts to restore the common good.
To help advance passage of the wealth tax – and our nation’s democratic ideals – go to Citizens for Tax Justice: www.ctj.org.
“For or Against, Taxing the Rich Rouses Passion,” The New York Times, October 2, 2019.