Eightnine2718281828mu5 on Taxes and Income Mobility

Hoisted from comments, Brad DeLong-style…. these are comments by reaer eightnine2718281828mu5 which I have taken the liberty of editing slightly.

The left claims that economic mobility isn’t what it used to be, and complain about the fairness of a system that locks people in place based on their birth status. The right claims that this is nonsense; that economic mobility is alive and well in the US.

Well, let’s take the right at their word. I propose that we increase taxes on high income individuals (income taxes, payroll taxes, social security taxes) and lower them for the low income individuals since the right claims that these are just the same folks at different periods of their lives. It therefore all balances out since a single individual gets the benefits of low taxes early in life, which allows them to accumulate capital quickly so as to be more productive and engage in risk taking/wealth-generating activities earlier than they would otherwise.

And later, when they are reaping the benefits of their accumulated wealth, we raise their taxes so that we can extend the same courtesy to those coming up the ladder behind them.

If there is true mobility, no one should complain since they reap the benefit at one stage of their life and pay the costs at a later stage of life.


Note from cactus – I don’t see the problem with this. Its simple, its elegant, and it should have the support of the folks on the right if they believe what they tell us. But I have a strong suspicion this policy would meet with a lot of resistance.