On one of the progressive websites this Sunday was a post about the battle over taxing the rich. It was for it of course, and it made two arguments over why soaking the rich was a good idea. The post was directed at those who thought that high taxes would be a discouragement to innovation, and the first argument was that taxes on the wealthy were much higher in the past than now, yet the country was still prosperous. I can see the merit in that reasoning, but it was a different world back in the 50's. Back then, if you were inventing microchips, no one would have imagined going to India to make them. You could charge high taxes because there was no other place to go.
The second argument makes sense, yet has a certain creepy vibe about it. The reasoning goes that inventive people are going to invent anyway, so you can take as much as you want and they will keep on inventing because they are driven to do so. Talk about parasites!
About the same time I was reading that, Melinda Gates was on "60 Minutes" talking about the Gates Foundation. Despite the billions of dollars to spend, it looked like the Gates were being pretty careful to make sure every penny was being spent wisely.
Put the two together, and you have my idea for future tax policy. On one hand "fair share" is either the same amount of money everyone else gets taxed, or the same percent. Nothing else is fair. On the other, income inequality is a very real problem for nations. We are also broke and need the money. My compromise that leaves no one very happy is for the super rich to pay as much tax as everyone else. Then they have to pay a rich people tax. Get this though: They get to decide how the money is spent!
There would have to be a few simple rules, like no spending it in a way that directly profits the payer, or ganging up to send the money to one place. The rich could send all of their money to the General Fund, or micromanage it as much as they want. Politicians would have a fit, but I can see government getting back to the basics while leaving the fluffy feel good stuff to the richer taxpayers.
Hey, it's an idea.