The best reason to raise taxes on rich people

Bill O’Reilly (via Drum):

If you tax achievement, some of the achievers are going to pack it in. Let’s take me. My corporations employ scores of people. They depend on me to do what I do so they can make a nice salary. If Barack Obama begins taxing me more than 50 percent, which is very possible, I don’t know how much longer I’m going to do this. I like my job but there comes a point when taxation become oppressive.

Hmmm.  Getting O’Reilly to quit, now there’s an incentive!  But seriously, does anybody think he actually would quit were the top marginal rate to go to 51%?  O’Reilly loves what he’s doing and he loves the money he’s making.  Something tells me taking home a little less millions a year after taxation just isn’t going to make him– or any millionaire– stop.  Among other things, this totally ignores the psychic value of high earnings.  For very many at this income level (and plenty of ordinary earners as well)l, the amount of money they make is very much about status.  The key is to make more money than other people.  As long as that is motivating people (i.e., as long as basic human psychology stays in effect) they’ll keep earning their millions.  And if the government takes a marginally larger fraction than that, they can still say “my $1.5 million salary makes me a better person than his $1.3 million salary” and the rest of us can all benefit by having a few percent more of those earnings go to needed government programs.  And, if you think that makes me a socialist, you have no idea what that word actually means.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to The best reason to raise taxes on rich people

  1. Steve, the evidence does not bear you out. Every time taxes are raised, the rich do everything in their power to not pay them. Look at
    Kerry who parked his new yacht in a different state so as not to have
    to pay the onerous Massachussetts sales tax and Kerry has a billionaire wife.

    The Beatles all repatriated to the states because of the oppressive taxes in England. I could go on and on but the jobs lost to overseas
    manufacguring is in part due to the oppressive taxes levied against
    businesses in our country.
    John wilder

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