September 20, 2003


America's rich get richer thanks to tax-cutting Bush (Andrew Gumbel, 9/20/2003, Independent News UK)

Forbes ascribed the fattening portfolios of the super-rich to the recovery of internet and other tech stocks after the dot-com meltdown of 2000-2001.

[...]The improving fortunes of those on the list also reflected the largesse being shown to the richest Americans by the Bush administration.

They are the main beneficiaries of tax cuts that will pump $100bn into the economy - most of it into the pockets of the top 1 per cent - this year alone. They have also benefited from measures such as the repeal of estate taxes and the lifting of various government regulations on industry and large businesses.

Such economic benefits are being enjoyed on a highly unequal basis, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think-tank.

So, despite what the authors of the study conclude, Mr. Gumbel chants the liberal mantra of class envy and inequality. Then he buttresses his argument with nonsensical conclusions: the estate tax? Um...everybody on the list was ALIVE last year and had already received whatever inheritance under prior tax law. Of course, according to liberal tax guidelines, it's only "fair" when we're taxing the money away from the richest 1% on a "highly unequal basis" - the reverse could never be true. But, for those whose fortunes are almost entirely pegged to the market value of their equity holdings, it might stand to reason that when the price of MSFT goes up 10% year over year, Mr. Gates' net worth would be likely to increase accordingly.

Posted by John Resnick at September 20, 2003 10:49 AM

Mr. Resnick:

My husband says he keeps running the numbers and the tax cut actually amounts to an increase (at least for us0 especially since no one seems to understand the Alternative Minimum Tax.

I suspect the rising fortunes are much more tied to the rising market than to the tax cut.

Posted by: Buttercup at September 20, 2003 11:13 AM

I guess the Left will never abandon their pet idea that wealth is a zero-sum game.

Posted by: Southerner at September 20, 2003 2:50 PM

The Left rests on the Lump of Labor fallacy.

Well, among other flagrantly un-analytical fallacies, anyway.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 20, 2003 5:46 PM

Almost nobody makes the Forbes 400 list by virtue of income. It's almost always due to appreciation of equity. Since said equity is rarely sold in large chunks, even if the top tax rate were 100%, the Forbes 400 members wouldn't pay much more in taxes.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at September 20, 2003 9:56 PM

Have we really reached the point where a headline to the effect of "President's policies make some Americans richer" is a criticism?

Posted by: David Cohen at September 20, 2003 10:32 PM

Maintaining a free and open capitalist society
is dependent upon minimizing class envy and
maximizing upward mobility.

The modern Democrat party seems bent on maximizing
the former and minimizing the latter.

If Europe has taught us one thing it is that
unfettered class resentment leads down a bad road.

Posted by: J.H. at September 22, 2003 9:29 AM