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Why America needs to go back to taxing the wealthy

DCblogger's picture

By Dave Johnson

Special to the Mercury News

Back when it took time to make a fortune, business people had to rely on the health of the greater community to nurture their own enterprises. They had to think and act long-term. They had to carefully build solid businesses that satisfied their customers. They had to hold on to workers because their experience was valuable.

Meanwhile, the roads and bridges used by their trucks were kept in repair, our schools provided excellent education to their potential employees, and our courts were well funded to properly enforce contracts. Businesses and communities depended on each other to do well.

But once top tax rates were lowered, vast personal fortunes could be realized from a single quick deal. This created incentives for people to engage in activities that we can now see helped make our country a worse, and less prosperous, place.

Corporations became predatory, caring little for the community because executives planned to get rich quick and leave soon. Short-term business models that cut employees to the bone and took advantage of customers began to make sense.

I have always thought that Dave Johnson has the best strategic mind in netroots.

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jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

I think it's the best-argued justification for higher taxes on the wealthy that I've come across.

Again, it comes back to rhetoric. The truth is what's needed, but to make sure it reaches as many people as possible it needs to be well-delivered. And this is some very well-delivered truth.

Violet Socks's picture
Submitted by Violet Socks on

That is a good article. Thanks for highlighting it.

That kind of economic thinking used to be fairly well understood. But over the past three decades the rightwing noise machine has drowned everything else out. It's always blasting out the same Reaganomic nonsense, always set on 11. It's like the Vikings chanting SPAM SPAM SPAM in Monty Python.

When I was in college, "supply-side economics" was a joke. My econ professor could hardly discuss it with a straight face. Now people think it's real.