Be Like Reagan And Thatcher! Soak The Rich!Soak the rich, nationalize the banks, close tax loopholes, and put some greedy bastards in prison. Then all will be right with the world. Well, better anyway.
Possibly because of my immersion in posts about going Galt, I've read altogether too many blog posts and newspaper columns about the horrid, wealth-destroying, class-warfare-waging, socialist nightmare that is Barack Obama's tax policy. So I thought it might be a good idea to get a few basic facts on the table.
Obama is not proposing to raise the personal income tax. He is proposing to allow the Bush tax cuts on families making over $250,000 a year to expire. The Republicans wrote that expiration into law to conceal to hide the costs of their tax cuts. Under the law they wrote, the top marginal tax rate will go up from 35% to 39.6% in 2011.
If a top marginal tax rate of 39.6% is socialism, then there are a lot of socialists in the world. For instance, Japan, South Korea, Australia, along with a lot of the OECD: all have rates higher than Obama is proposing. (Note: I just chose some countries at random. I'm sure I could have found more.) No wonder the world economy is in trouble! There's socialism and class warfare everywhere you look!
But it's even stranger than that. Did you know that Margaret Thatcher (pdf) declared war on the wealthy, a war so extreme it makes Obama's seem meek by comparison? The top tax rate in the UK was 60% for most of her term in office, and 40% for the last year or so. At no point was it lower than what Obama proposes -- and that's without taking into account the VAT.
Likewise, Ronald Reagan was apparently a Class Warrior: for six of the eight years during which Reagan was President, the top tax bracket was 50%. It's a wonder anyone worked at all! In Reagan's defense, though, he was just carrying on a long tradition of wealth expropriation carried out by socialists like Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.
All in all, it seems as though we've been suffering through an awful lot of socialism and class warfare all over the world, much of it at the hands of people conservatives claim to admire. If a top marginal rate of 39.6% is enough to make society's producers and creators go on strike, then Galt's Gulch must be getting pretty crowded.