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I'm so old I remember that both the US and the UK used to tax very high incomes at 90%. AFTER you made a bunch of money THE REST was taxed a lot. If you make $1 billion you "only" take home $100 million.

How MANY problems do we have now with billionaires screwing up both countries, and the rest of the people struggling?

So don't tell me about solutions until you raise top tax rates back where they should be in a democracy.

The POINT of top tax rates is redistribution.

@dcjohnson I believe the point also was to prevent 1) the very kind of corruption we are experiencing, especially since Citizens United and 2) a SCOTUS that pretends money is speech and proves every day that money in politics just buys bad politics and little justice.

@dcjohnson The Cringe Lord is certainly helping to disprove the anti-tax mantra of the billionaire class as “job creators.”

@dcjohnson I... kind of agree with you, as long as you're also taking care of loopholes that let the ultra-wealthy hide their income from those tax calculations beforehand.

Raising the top tax bracket to 3000% doesn't do squat, if every ultra wealthy person's income shows as just $1000/year to the tax department.

Then it's often the middle/upper middle class (the ones not rich enough for a top tier sketchy accountant) that get screwed.

@Blort @dcjohnson I don't know the details about what happened in the UK, so I'll discuss the tax reforms in the US in the early 1980s. You're right, top tax rates were very high, but there were lots of loopholes. The reforms cut both rates and loopholes, leaving the rich paying about the same proportion of the amount of taxes collected as before.

The whole reform was followed by an economic boom, though it's hard to disentangle how tax changes contributed.

@dcjohnson TBF, while I think the redistribution is the best argument for a high marginal tax, I think even if the government just torched the money, blunting the inequality in society would be a good enough reason to do it

@dcjohnson @kdund This is actually closer to what happens, accounting-wise, at the central bank than you think. #learnmmt

@dcjohnson We built the interstate highway system on those taxes. Can you imagine trying to build such a thing now?

@dcjohnson Blocking wealth concentration does other things. By pruning the overflow of wealth it gets put into wider use. This redistribution is necessary for a strong economy. Wealth concentration is the death of capitalism by its own hand.

@dcjohnson I don't think everyone realises you don't pay the high rate on all of it, in UK anyway. The high rate only applies to the amount that still goes over the threshold after you've first taken off the personal allowance and it could be a tiny amount that it actually applies to.

@AliceMerray @dcjohnson it’s been that way here in the US also. That’s why it’s properly called the “marginal tax rate” since it applies after you pay the lower rates on the lower brackets. We’ve had upward of 9 brackets at one point, and if the lowest bracket is 0% for the first 15k, that applies to the first 15k for everyone. 10% for 15k to 30k, same thing. It makes the use of tax tables or automated calculation necessary.

@AliceMerray
@dcjohnson
That's by design here in USA. Republicans need voters to believe progressive tax policies are an unfair disaster. So their pundits intentionally talk as if the top rate applies to everything and everyone, and it's not illegal to get on the news and just lie.

@dcjohnson if you make 1 billion, the government gets 900 million to spend on social infrastructure and services. Which is jobs AND benefits everyone else at the same time. Now that's what I call trickle-down economics!

@dcjohnson "I will not hear discussion on practical matters until my one pet solution to all the world's problems is implemented"

If you're old enough to remember that you're old enough to remember how much worse the world sucked back then. Maybe there's a correlation there?

@dcjohnson Not having high taxes for the ultra-rich, coupled with the lie of #trickledown, ensures the corruption of our econony.

@stillkindahoping I'm hoping to write about just HOW it corrupts the economy later.

Hint: low top tax rates enabled making a fortune overnight.

@dcjohnson True. Here's my nutshell. Historically after WWII there was an agreement between workers, business and government to grow the economy and share the prosperity. When Reagan, Thatcher and Mulrooney took over politics in the 1980s there was a massive shift in taxation and labour strategies that allowed business to have #extremegreed and drain bargaining power from unions. The final step was offshoring manufacturing, allowing globalized profiteering and tax dodging, and disabling workers.

@stillkindahoping They broke the social contract. They took the massive investment in infrastructure built by both countries and privatized it. For the few, not the many.

Both countries have been coasting on that infrastructure since, not maintaining or modernizing it much, and both societies have been crumbling ever since.

@dcjohnson True. Politicians and people kept believing that business would continue helping society, but in reality once the brakes were taken off we saw that there are no limits to how greedy companies can be. In addition to removing tax dollars for infrastructure and health, companies realized they could pollute up to the regulation limits with impunity. Their political buddies kept making it easier to extract and hoard wealth. The politicians are rarely the smart ones in the room.

@dcjohnson

Problem: your diagnosis is faulty, implying a cause and effect where none exists, partly because of the difference between wealth and income, and also confusing nominal and functional tax rates, while not factoring in how they were applied and worked around.

Solution: actually study the economic history of taxation, and also the economic history of inequality, and come to understand the difference between your imaginary problems and real problems.

It's not as if this hasn't been researched to death every time some nitwit with a pseudo-egalitarian dream dredges this tiresome nonsense up. Again. As if they were the first ultra-genius to consider it.

@Koekepan I spent the last several years at a think tank studying just that.

But thanks for the insult.

@dcjohnson

Then why did you get it so pathetically wrong?

A classic case in point is how tax collection rates remained substantially unchange after the big reforms of the '80s, partly because of the loopholes that were repealed. The big marginal income rates were a delusion, and regularly worked around.

Another example is the simple observation that a favoured target of redistributive tax fans, estate tax, has turned out to be a pro-corporate move simply because it forces families, particularly heavily capitalised but cash-poor families to liquidate and sell cheap to cover taxes - dovetailing incidentally with pro-consolidation policies in agriculture.

Another example is how people like Bezos and Gates have basically 0 book income, but get their compensation in other forms, precisely to duck this, and they can afford the tax lawyers to work around it.

Your turkey of a proposal is deader than most thanksgiving meals (allowing for bacteria in the undercooked ones) and this is why people don't bother with that. So, to copy your bluster, don't tell me about tax rates until you figure out how to make them apply directly in fashions that would address your purported goals.

By the by, which think tank was this, so that I can treat their output with the contempt that they deserve?
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