[extropy-chat] Tax Burden Gap

Kevin Freels megaquark at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 18 12:56:36 UTC 2004

I don;t think the gapo between rich and poor is important at all. Who really
cares what they have? WHy should they be brought down? Is it just a matter
of jealousy? If they are rich, and own all that wealth, so what? The only
real matetr of importance is whether or not everyone else is suffering from
it. If the poorest people's lives are continually improving, I fail to see
how thier wealth matters at all. If they didn;t exist, would we be any
better or worse off?

Also, those figures are wealth, not income. If someone owns a bunch of land
that is very valuable, that is wealth. We are talking about income
taxes...unless you want a separate wealth tax as well.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Damien Broderick" <thespike at satx.rr.com>
To: "ExI chat list" <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Tuesday, August 17, 2004 4:09 PM
Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] Tax Burden Gap

> At 01:36 PM 8/17/2004 -0700, Chris wrote:
> >Damien forwarded some statistics:
> >
> >>The top 20 percent owns over 80 percent of all wealth. In 1998, it owned
> >>83 percent of all wealth.
> >
> >But notice that these are statistics for wealth, not income.  In the US
> >(and I have to assume until corrected, in Australia as well) most taxes
> >are based on income, not wealth.
> You need to read the full interview I url'd; e.g.:
> < MM: To what extent is inequality addressed through tax policy?
> Wolff: One reason we have such high levels of inequality, compared to
> advanced industrial countries, is because of our tax and, I would add, our
> social expenditure system. We have much lower taxes than almost every
> Western European country. And we have a less progressive tax system than
> almost every Western European country. As a result, the rich in this
> country manage to retain a much higher share of their income than they do
> in other countries, and this enables them to accumulate a much higher
> amount of wealth than the rich in other countries.
> Certainly our tax system has helped to stimulate the rise of inequality in
> this country. >
> However:
> <MM: To what extent is the wealth inequality trend simply reflective of
> rising level of income inequality?
> Wolff: Part of it reflects underlying increases in income inequality, but
> the other significant factor is what has happened to the ratio between
> stock prices and housing prices. The major asset of the middle class is
> their home. The major assets of the rich are stocks and small business
> equity. If stock prices increase more quickly than housing prices, then
> share of wealth owned by the richest households goes up. This turns out to
> be almost as important as underlying changes in income inequality. For the
> last 25 or 30 years, despite the bear market we've had over the last two
> years, stock prices have gone up quite a bit faster than housing prices. >
> Damien Broderick
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