A letter to the editors of The Economist.
Maybe I should not be surprised that, despite their penchant for sensible solutions and cool-headed, rational analysis, the editors of The Economist would get so exercised over modest tax increases for the wealthy (September 24, “Hunting the Rich”, page 13). Since your editors and writers are anonymous my imagination is left to envision a tantrum-throwing CEO or an oily investor from Dubai or whoever you have calling the shots berating the editors about how “Leviathan” should keep its hands off his bulletproof fourth home in southern California (see “Beverly Hills Flop”, page 38).
Get over yourselves. The “soaking” you are shrieking about is more like a light splash. Your briefing “Diving into the Rich Pool” (whatever that means) leads us to the oh-so-inevitable conclusion that higher taxes on the rich will destroy us all. Yet it is not so much a matter of whether higher marginal tax rates retard short and medium term growth slightly, but a matter of fairness and whether, in democracies, the people have the right to legislate such equitable treatment rather than be held economic hostage by a clique of plutocrats.
Surely you do not expect us to accept the neo-feudal suggestion that rich must be at liberty to look over the rest of us. Shrinking tax rates did not stop us from getting into the present mess, nor did historically higher tax rates ever stop anyone from being rich (page 38). In the United States (“America”, as you like to call it) the proposal is to simply raise the marginal tax rate to its previous historical low of the prosperous 1990s, a time when rich people did just fine (see page 38 again).
Or perhaps you do expect us to buy this nonsense since the United Kingdom, from which your magazine emanates, is a model for such medieval arrangements, presided over by an unelected family of parasites subsisting in great luxury on public money. Because that is the inevitable conclusion when we trade away our democratic initiative and political independence to wealthiest 2 percent in return for the chance of their good favor.