[extropy-chat] Tax Burden Gap
megaquark at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 20 15:35:57 UTC 2004
I would like to take a moment to recognize the huge gap in cincome between
the beautiful and the ugly. Attractive people do have higher incomes.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Matthew Gingell" <gingell at gnat.com>
To: "ExI chat list" <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Friday, August 20, 2004 1:02 AM
Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] Tax Burden Gap
> J. Andrew Rogers writes:
> > Class mobility, a function of wealth rather than income, matters at
> > least as much as the distribution, as this is what provides much of the
> > motivation to dare great things.
> Social mobility is a function of the ease with which individuals can
> accumulate wealth - it's the integral of net income with respect to
> time, plus or minus a constant for what an individual starts off
> We can look at income distribution in terms of how many people have
> been able to achieve great things, that is take it as the end point
> of the analysis rather than the initial condition. How many
> opportunities for advancements exist on various points on the
> distribution: Do we have a society in which most people find it
> possible to improve their lot somewhat, or do we have a
> winner-take-all society in which enormous rewards accrue to a few?
> If nothing else, I think it should be pretty clear that our extremely
> steep income distribution curve suggests something peculiar is going
> on with our allocation of human capital.
> > Very wealthy people contribute a lot to society by being able to
> > risk very large sums of capital on things that interest them,
> > including many things that the government will neither have the
> > will nor the interest to fund regardless of merit. This money
> > builds the companies and pays for the research that generates the
> > majority of the technology we enjoy today.
> A wealthy society with a healthy economy will find useful ways to
> employ its wealth, regardless of how it's distributed. My pension
> fund is every bit as interested in a diverse portfolio of risk /
> reward tradeoffs as is the Rockefeller family fortune.
> > The engine of innovation is powered by private capital, and one
> > thing history has shown is that in hindsight most government funded
> > "innovations" were either unnecessary, expensive, or economically
> > irrelevant.
> I don't see how this assertion relates to the rest of your argument,
> but it's true as far as it goes. (With lots of qualifiers for the
> provision of public goods, funding activities with positive
> externalities, etc.)
> > If you have nothing but a middle class, who provides the capital
> > required to have a strong economy?
> The market provides the capital. In any economy wealth is going to
> seek a return, and the banking system and financial markets will find
> ways to offer it. That's true whether "wealth" is million checking
> accounts or a single trust fund.
> > The irony is that progressive income taxes destroy class mobility.
> It would indeed be ironic if it were true, but it's difficult to make
> a sensible case that it is.
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