No, Mr Reich, wealth does not equal oligarchy. While some of the super wealthy may seek undue influence, that can only happen if irresponsible elected officials subvert their integrity and voters look the other way. Wealth, even inequality is not the problem, those who foster envy, division and to make Americans more and more dependent on government are the problem and the risk.
Oh Bethaney, grow up. Stop what? The accumulation of wealth? Everyone should be trying to accumulate wealth. How’s your 401k doing?
Broadly speaking, an oligarchy is a form of government characterized by the rule of a few persons or families. More specifically, the term was used by Greek philosopher Aristotle in contrast to aristocracy, which was another term to describe rule by a privileged few.
I always enjoy your blog. Like you, I don’t want a country where everyone is dependent on the government, but I certainly also don’t want the middle class paying a much heavier tax burden than billionaires. I think we probably both want something in the middle, that is fair. Oligarchy talk is extreme rhetoric, I agree, but so is handicapping the IRS so they don’t have the personnel to even audit billionaires. .
With only 700 to 800 billionaires in the US. Just how many IRS agents do you really think would be required to audit them. Certainly not the 87,000 presently being proposed by the Democrats. If you don’t want the middle class to pay a heavier tax burden, the government needs to stop wasting our money on useless and frivolous programs. You need to control the spending first.
I think it needs to be both. We have one of the lowest overall tax burdens (corporate and personal income) in modern history overall, which plays into the deficit just as much as spending does. As for spending, what would you cut? For any real cuts, it would have to be deep cuts for either defense or Medicare. And as far as audits are concerned, I imagine it would take thousands of man hours to investigate highly sophisticated tax fraud for just one billionaire, so yes, they definitely need more agents. Just look at the statistics of lost revenue every year due to lack of enforcement resources. Every American should be behind fair enforcement of existing tax laws.
As you know the tax laws apply to everyone. The difference between the middle class and billionaires is not tax rates as such, but the sources of income. When here a billionaire paid only 8% in taxes, that’s nonsense. That number for example was based on taxes paid versus net worth, not income. As you probably know, about 40% of Americans pay no income taxes and nobody pays taxes on income they have not received.
I think that is the issue. The tax laws actually don’t apply to everyone right now. Sophisticated tax cheats are not paying what they legally owe. To the tune of $1 trillion annually, per the IRS. You make great points about how small changes can keep Social Security solvent much longer. Imagine what eliminating $1 trillion of tax fraud would do for the overall budget.