There aren’t that many extra rich people in the world, relatively speaking. Not only that, but the chances of a regular person joining the ranks of the uber rich is also extremely unlikely.
Which is all to say that the majority of people who oppose taxing the rich much disagree for reasons other than hoarding their own billions – but what are they?
If you’re curious, these 16 people are willing to discuss their points of view below!
16. You’re never going to be them.
A lot of middle class people fancy themselves rich.
Especially if they’re the type who pulled themselves out of a sh*%ty situations to achieve that middle class status I can understand the hesitation, but as my gf pointed out, if you can’t drop $1k on dinner without batting an eye then you’re not rich.
15. They don’t trust the government.
I think our government is way too big and useless.
Wastes too much money on stupid bulls*%t, would rather cut out the bulls*%t than increase taxes, then cut taxes and stop spending more money on bulls*%t.
14. It could backfire.
A lot of middle class people plan to retire with $1-2 million in a retirement portfolio and the thought or Uncle Sam deciding to skim 2-4% annually off the top of their lifetime accumulated savings scares the absolute shit out of them.
If you retire with $2 million and draw at $50k/annually but have to pay a 2% “millionaires tax”, you would lose $500k in 5 years.
13. Define rich.
Depends how you define rich. The upper middle class pay tons in taxes right now and I don’t think that our doctor, lawyer, engineer, programmer class needs to pay any more than they do and they sure aren’t at fault for the financial disparity in the nation.
Find a way to tax the billionaires and hundred millionaires without continuing to tax the people they aren’t the problem. (This never happens)
12. Because of the little people.
Simply because every time a tax comes out that is supposed to tax the rich the little people get screwed.
A parallel example is regulations. Big Business break rules and screw people over. Government makes regulations to control Business. Only big Business have enough resources to jump through paperwork and loopholes to avoid them so a bunch of small businesses end up closing. More people are forced to go to big Business who are still shady but have to spend more money being shady.
So the regulation did help customers some. But it also hurt the small Business and helped the big Business get rid of competition.
I’m not against regulation, but I doubt we can make legislation that stops the big bad guys and doesn’t harm the little guy. Big bad guys have enough money to get around the rules so the little guy ends up stuck.
11. It’s about “class.”
I feel like that’s an issue with how class is commonly understood. Class isn’t really a matter of income level, it’s a matter of one’s relationship to production.
There’s only two classes in our society, the working class and the owner class. The “middle class” is the socioeconomic overlap between classes, the most wealthy elements of the working class (programmers, lawyers, engineers, doctors) and the poorest elements of the owner class (small business owners/landlords).
Tax reform targeted toward “the rich” may affect skilled workers more than the owner class folks they’re supposed to affect. Blurring the line between the two classes and pushing the idea of a single middle class only helps the owner class divorce the working class from its wealthiest members, making the working class as a whole easier to manage.
10. There’s a domino effect.
Exactly- you know who’s all for raising the minimum wage? Amazon; they can afford to have higher labor expenses, especially since it will cause even more of their competitors to go out of business and they get and even larger market share.
Excessive regulation creates monopolies easier than insufficient regulation.
9. They just don’t like the slogan.
I do want to tax the rich, but I do think the opposition gets painted unfairly a lot of the time largely because people from our side can’t agree on what “tax the rich” means.
To some, it means closing loopholes on the wealthiest. To others, it means taxing investments more. To others, it means banning billionaires.
I get where people may want to tax the rich but dislike the sloganeering that obfuscates the real goal, and thus get concerned about supporting it.
8. It doesn’t address the true problem.
Because it doesn’t address the true problem. The problem is HOW tax dollars are spent by the US government, not HOW MUCH they are allowed to collect.
We spent $300 million per day for 20 years in Afghanistan. we spent 2 trillion dollars in Iraq. We’ve spent $1 trillion on the feckless war on drugs since 1971.
The United States already collects more than enough money in tax revenue to address all of the very real problems our country faces (homelessness, hunger, education) but doesn’t spend that tax revenue efficiently at all. The “tax the rich more = our problems solved” argument completely absolves the government of their absolute reckless spending
7. Economic upheaval.
I’ve had people get VISIBLY UPSET at me when I suggested that a wealth tax is a bad idea, even though I agreed that billionaires should be taxed far more in a lot of ways.
My reasoning? 18/20 European countries that had a wealth tax have abolished it the past 30 years because it ended up bringing in very little revenue related to the cost to administer, as well as had a measurable drag on the overall economy. So why would I possibly think it would work here if it didn’t work anywhere else?
Here’s what you CAN do
tax carried interest as income
make more tax brackets, the highest could be up to 90%, I dont care.
Crank up the capital gains taxes too. Tax stock buybacks.
add a financial tax on loan administration for loans against personal assets in excess of $1 million (call it the Musk Tax). You’re not taxing them per say, but you’re taxing the banks that run the loan, causing the interest to go up, in turn taxing the billionaire.
raise the minimum wage. Higher wages = higher payroll taxes paid by companies.
Tax PAC donations.
These are just a few that could help without causing economic upheaval.
6. Our country is too broken.
I kinda agree. It’s a progressive thought to tax the rich. It’s also a progressive thought to not tax the rich and reallocate money from defense spending to social programs, GND, etc..
Neither of these options will probably ever happen in an effective manner. Our country is so broken.
5. Because dictators?
While I don’t have any survey data to back it up, I can’t help but feel that it goes both ways. I know friends and have seen Reddit comments from people who support the ‘Tax the Rich’ movement, but they believe it equates to exactly what the detractors believe it stands for.
While I support *some* of the policies that fall under the TtR umbrella, whenever I have a general conversation with somebody about the topic, it’s never those policies they bring up.
While true that if sat down and given a list of policies, many more people would support the movement, that isn’t the conversation people have when discussing the idea.
4. The execution doesn’t work.
I’m not against taxing the rich. It’s the execution of it, is what I think is idiotic.
Disclaimer: I am absolutely for getting rid of tax loopholes. I think it’s disgusting how it’s so easy for the rich to cheat their taxes.
Define rich: by what measure do you define someone’s wealth? Is it by assets? Yearly profit? Net worth? Most people base wealth by the highest number they see on the screen, and associate it with their liquefiable bank account. That helps us none.
How much, and on what? People say “tax them 80%” on what? Their profits? If that’s the case, then they’ll just reinvest it into the company and bam: taxed money redirected into their assets. If it’s 80% on assets, you would just destroy the companies. It’s practically a lynching of a business, and that is one of the worst things you could ever do.
I hear increase their taxes, but nothing strategic. It’s all sheep repetition “monkey hear, monkey repeat”. I’m tired of hearing it.
3. It’s not a healthy mindset.
I’m very much a “tax the rich” guy but I think a lot of “tax the rich” people are just burning effigies at this point.
Like there’s this group who they can blame all of society’s problems on: rich people.
I don’t think that’s a very healthy mindset to have.
2. They don’t have the cash?
I’m also not against taxing the rich at a higher rate than the less-rich. The issue becomes that even the wealthiest billionaires don’t have all that much cash.
Let’s use Elon as an example. He’s worth around 300B. But a huge amount of that value is tied up in his share of Tesla, spacex, boring company, etc. he doesn’t have 300 billion in his checking account. So if he was forced to pay say, 90% on that 300B, it would mean he would have to sell all his Tesla stock, and probably most of his other companies and ventures. Such a stock dump would tank Tesla’s stock price, pulling all their funding for continuing to innovate in the EV world.
The government would have to bail them out, and Tesla would essentially become a government owned entity. The precedent becomes: build a wildly successful company worth so much you can’t pay the rate you’re being taxed at, unless you sell said company.
So as long as people are allowed to build companies from the ground up, there will always be the possibility they become multi-billionaires, in assets if not in cash value.
1. There are too many problems.
Unless what you own is already public, a 1% tax on assets that are illiquid is devastating. You have no way of raising the cash to pay the taxes, as the securities laws prohibit the sale of unregistered assets. Your only hope would be to sell it at a discount to a “qualified” investor, with the explicit permission of the corporation. That ensures that only the wealthy can profit from private corporate assets.
It’s already a terrific problem that the exercise of stock options in illiquid corporations is taxed as ordinary income, as it makes it unaffordable to exercise them as the company increases in value all the way until the company goes public, and once that happens, the government takes a half share of it.
Taxes are already an enormous obstacle to becoming wealthy, and these taxes will ensure that no one who isn’t already wealthy can ever get there.
That being said, IMHO, the idea that the top income tax rates only go up to $523k is crazy. Why is there not additional brackets of 2-3% more in marginal rates for each doubling of income after that? 2% for each doubling would mean 39% above $1M, 41% above 2M, 43% above 4M, …. 59% above $1B … 79% above $1T in income per year. Frankly, with these additional brackets, you could likely cut the overall tax rate a significant amount on everyone to keep the revenue raised approximately equal.
The real billionaire income tax problem is that the very wealthy never need to realize income from their assets, they can just borrow against them. The wealth tax is a very blunt tool for attempting to correct that. There’s a very simple way to fix that, though, by defining borrowing that is not used for purchasing a durable asset as income. If you borrow $1M to purchase a house, that’s not realizing $1M of income; if instead you borrow $1M to blow on a trip to Vega$ (or the Kármán line), that is income.
It’s always interesting to get a glimpse into people’s thought processes, don’t you think?
If you also oppose this idea, our comments are open for your thoughts!