Why Tax The Rich?

Worried about the deficit? Scott Adams has some suggestions:

In the television industry .. I learned a technique that writers use. It’s called “the bad version.” When you feel that a plot solution exists, but you can’t yet imagine it, you describe instead a bad version that has no purpose other than stimulating the other writers to imagine a better version. … With that technique in mind, I will describe some bad versions of how society might go about the job of convincing the rich to accept higher taxes on themselves. …

Anyone who pays taxes at a rate above some set amount gets to use the car pool lane without a passenger. Or perhaps the rich are allowed to park in handicapped-only spaces. … Gratitude. … The government makes it a condition that anyone applying for social services has to write a personal thank-you note to a nearby rich person who, according to a central database, hasn’t lately received one. … Give the rich two votes apiece in any election. (more)

Why do we tax the rich?  If it is just because the rich have lots of money, and we need more money, then we should be pretty eager to take up something like Scott’s suggestions. Such policies could help us get lots more money at a relatively low cost to ourselves. But if we tax the rich more to lower the status of the rich, so they don’t loom as high above us, we are more likely to dislike Scott’s suggestions. Yes such policies lower the income status of the rich, but they might more than compensate via other very visible status markers.

Seems pretty clear most folks hate Scott’s suggestions.  Making status motives a better explanation that revenue motives.  Are you ok with admitting that?

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