Tag Archives: jeffrey a miron

Bill Clinton condemns class-warfare and engages in it in same speech

President Bill Clinton’s Speech Oct 1, 2011 with Joshua & Anna at Little Rock Arkansas

Uploaded by on Oct 2, 2011

_______________________________

In this speech in Little Rock on October 1, 2011 former President Bill Clinton noted:

There is no example of a country in the fix we are in that can balance the budget without a combination of spending cuts, the people who can afford it paying more and growing the economy.

What was the secret of the Clinton Presidency? Clinton tells us in the same speech:

We decided to stop the politics of pitting one American against another by race…income, by anything else.

_________-

President Obama and other politicians are advocating higher taxes, with a particular emphasis on class-warfare taxes targeting the so-called rich. This Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation video explains why fiscal policy based on hate and envy is fundamentally misguided. For more information please visit our web page: www.freedomandprosperity.org.

I just don’t understand how a politician can say two things in the same speech that cancel each other out? John Brummett and Max Brantley love to try to act like all of our problems would be solved if we could take the money from the rich guy. Below is an article that makes some great points concerning class-warfare:

Soaking the Rich Is Not Fair

by Jeffrey A. Miron

Jeffrey A. Miron is Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Harvard University and Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. Miron blogs at JeffreyMiron.com and is the author of Libertarianism, from A to Z.

Added to cato.org on September 2, 2011

This article appeared on The Huffington Post on September 2, 2011.

What is the “fair” amount of taxation on high-income taxpayers?

To liberals, the answer is always “more.” Liberals view high income — meaning any income that exceeds their own — as the result of luck or anti-social behavior. Hence liberals believe “fairness” justifies government-imposed transfers from the rich to everyone else. Many conservatives accept this view implicitly. They oppose soak-the-rich policies because of concern over growth, but they do not dispute whether such policies are fair.

But high tax rates on the rich are not fair or desirable for any other reason; they are an expression of America’s worst instincts, and their adverse consequences go beyond their negatives for economic growth.

The liberal hatred of the rich is a minority view, not a widely shared American value.

Consider first the view that differences in income result from luck rather than hard work: some people are born with big trust funds or innate skill and talent, and these fortuitous differences explain much of why some people have higher incomes than others.

Never mind that such a characterization is grossly incomplete. Luck undoubtedly explains some income differences, but this is not the whole story. Many trust fund babies have squandered their wealth, and inborn skill or talent means little unless combined with hard work.

But even if all income differences reflect luck, why are government-imposed “corrections” fair? The fact that liberals assert this does not make it true, any more than assertions to the contrary make it false. Fairness is an ill-defined, infinitely malleable concept, readily tailored to suit the ends of those asserting fairness, independent of facts or reason.

Worse, if liberals can assert a right to the wealth of the rich, why cannot others assert the right to similar transfers, such as from blacks to whites, Catholics to Protestants, or Sunni to Shia? Government coercion based on one group’s view of fairness is a first step toward arbitrary transfers of all kinds.

Now consider the claim that income differences result from illegal, unethical, or otherwise inappropriate behavior. This claim has an element of truth: some wealth results from illegal acts, and policies that punish such acts are appropriate.

But most inappropriate wealth accumulations results from bad government policies: those that restrict competition, enable crony capitalism, and hand large tax breaks to politically connected interest groups. These differences in wealth are a social ill, but the right response is removing the policies that promote them, not targeting everyone with high income.

The claim that soaking the rich is fair, therefore, has no basis in logic or in generating desirable outcomes; instead, it represents envy and hatred.

Why do liberals hate the rich? Perhaps because liberals were the “smart” but nerdy and socially awkward kids in high school, the ones who aced the SATs but did not excel at sports and rarely got asked to the prom. Some of their “dumber” classmates, meanwhile, went on to make more money, marry better-looking spouses, and have more fun.

Liberals find all this unjust because it rekindles their emotional insecurities from long ago. They do not have the honesty to accept that those with less SAT smarts might have other skills that the marketplace values. Instead, they resent wealth and convince themselves that large financial gains are ill-gotten.

Jeffrey A. Miron is Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Harvard University and Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. Miron blogs at JeffreyMiron.com and is the author of Libertarianism, from A to Z.

More by Jeffrey A. Miron

The liberal views on fairness and redistribution are far more defensible, of course, when it comes to providing for the truly needy. Reasonable people can criticize the structure of current anti-poverty programs, or argue that the system is overly generous, or suggest that private charity would be more effective at caring for the least vulnerable.

The desire to help the poor, however, represents a generous instinct: giving to those in desperate situations, where bad luck undoubtedly plays a major role. Soaking the rich is a selfish instinct, one that undermines good will generally.

And most Americans share this perspective. They are enthusiastic about public and private attempt to help the poor, but they do not agree that soaking the rich is fair. That is why U.S. policy has rarely embraced punitive income taxation or an aggressive estate tax. Instead, Americans are happy to celebrate well-earned success. The liberal hatred of the rich is a minority view, not a widely shared American value.

For America to restore its economic greatness, it must put aside the liberal hatred of the rich and embrace anew its deeply held respect for success. If it does, America will have enough for everyone.

Related posts:

Warren Buffett does not endorse Obama’s plan

Addington, McConaghy Debate Obama’s Jobs Plan Published on Sep 9, 2011 by Bloomberg Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) — David Addington, vice president at the Heritage Foundation, and Ryan McConaghy, economic director at Third Way, discuss President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan. They speak with Deirdre Bolton and Erik Schatzker on Bloomberg Television’s “InsideTrack.” (Source: Bloomberg) [...]

Is soaking the rich fair?

Is soaking the rich fair? Five Key Reasons to Reject Class-Warfare Tax Policy Uploaded by afq2007 on Jun 15, 2009 President Obama and other politicians are advocating higher taxes, with a particular emphasis on class-warfare taxes targeting the so-called rich. This Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation video explains why fiscal policy based on hate [...]

Is it class warfare? Brummett says no

Take a look above at this clip. In his article “Class Warfare versus Pay it forward,” Sept 26, 2011, Arkansas News Bureau, John Brummett tries to make the case that Obama is not involved in class warefare. He quotes Elizabeth Warren to prove his point. Unfortunately, logically this argument fails because although we all benefit [...]

Obama’s tax plan would not work even if tried

The Flat Tax: How it Works and Why it is Good for America Uploaded by afq2007 on Mar 29, 2010 This Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation video shows how the flat tax would benefit families and businesses, and also explains how this simple and fair system would boost economic growth and eliminate the special-interest [...]

Three points where Brummett misses the boat in discussion versus Charlie Collins

Five Key Reasons to Reject Class-Warfare Tax Policy Uploaded by afq2007 on Jun 15, 2009 President Obama and other politicians are advocating higher taxes, with a particular emphasis on class-warfare taxes targeting the so-called rich. This Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation video explains why fiscal policy based on hate and envy is fundamentally misguided. [...]

President Obama and Alternative Minimum Tax

President Obama and Alternative Minimum Tax Dan Mitchell does it again. He is always right on the mark. CPAs Celebrate as Obama Proposes to Create a Turbo-Charged Alternative Minimum Tax Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell Wow, this is remarkable. The alternative minimum tax (AMT) is one of the most-hated features of the tax code. It [...]

Buffett wants the rich soaked but that will not solve our problem in the budget

Max Brantley on the Arkansas Times Blog, August 15, 2011, asserted: Billionaire Warren Buffett laments, again, in a New York Times op-ed how the rich don’t share the sacrifices made by others in the U.S.. He notes his effectiie tax rate of 17 percent is lower than that of many of the working people in his office on account of preferences for [...]

Brummett touts Buffett’s math, but it is wrong

Five Key Reasons to Reject Class-Warfare Tax Policy Max Brantley on the Arkansas Times Blog, August 15, 2011, asserted:   Billionaire Warren Buffett laments, again, in a New York Times op-ed how the rich don’t share the sacrifices made by others in the U.S.. He notes his effectiie tax rate of 17 percent is lower than [...]

Is soaking the rich fair?

Five Key Reasons to Reject Class-Warfare Tax Policy

Uploaded by on Jun 15, 2009

President Obama and other politicians are advocating higher taxes, with a particular emphasis on class-warfare taxes targeting the so-called rich. This Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation video explains why fiscal policy based on hate and envy is fundamentally misguided. For more information please visit our web page: www.freedomandprosperity.org.

Is soaking the rich fair?

Soaking the Rich Is Not Fair

by Jeffrey A. Miron

Jeffrey A. Miron is Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Harvard University and Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. Miron blogs at JeffreyMiron.com and is the author of Libertarianism, from A to Z.

Added to cato.org on September 2, 2011

This article appeared on The Huffington Post on September 2, 2011.

What is the “fair” amount of taxation on high-income taxpayers?

To liberals, the answer is always “more.” Liberals view high income — meaning any income that exceeds their own — as the result of luck or anti-social behavior. Hence liberals believe “fairness” justifies government-imposed transfers from the rich to everyone else. Many conservatives accept this view implicitly. They oppose soak-the-rich policies because of concern over growth, but they do not dispute whether such policies are fair.

But high tax rates on the rich are not fair or desirable for any other reason; they are an expression of America’s worst instincts, and their adverse consequences go beyond their negatives for economic growth.

The liberal hatred of the rich is a minority view, not a widely shared American value.

Consider first the view that differences in income result from luck rather than hard work: some people are born with big trust funds or innate skill and talent, and these fortuitous differences explain much of why some people have higher incomes than others.

Never mind that such a characterization is grossly incomplete. Luck undoubtedly explains some income differences, but this is not the whole story. Many trust fund babies have squandered their wealth, and inborn skill or talent means little unless combined with hard work.

But even if all income differences reflect luck, why are government-imposed “corrections” fair? The fact that liberals assert this does not make it true, any more than assertions to the contrary make it false. Fairness is an ill-defined, infinitely malleable concept, readily tailored to suit the ends of those asserting fairness, independent of facts or reason.

Worse, if liberals can assert a right to the wealth of the rich, why cannot others assert the right to similar transfers, such as from blacks to whites, Catholics to Protestants, or Sunni to Shia? Government coercion based on one group’s view of fairness is a first step toward arbitrary transfers of all kinds.

Now consider the claim that income differences result from illegal, unethical, or otherwise inappropriate behavior. This claim has an element of truth: some wealth results from illegal acts, and policies that punish such acts are appropriate.

But most inappropriate wealth accumulations results from bad government policies: those that restrict competition, enable crony capitalism, and hand large tax breaks to politically connected interest groups. These differences in wealth are a social ill, but the right response is removing the policies that promote them, not targeting everyone with high income.

The claim that soaking the rich is fair, therefore, has no basis in logic or in generating desirable outcomes; instead, it represents envy and hatred.

Why do liberals hate the rich? Perhaps because liberals were the “smart” but nerdy and socially awkward kids in high school, the ones who aced the SATs but did not excel at sports and rarely got asked to the prom. Some of their “dumber” classmates, meanwhile, went on to make more money, marry better-looking spouses, and have more fun.

Liberals find all this unjust because it rekindles their emotional insecurities from long ago. They do not have the honesty to accept that those with less SAT smarts might have other skills that the marketplace values. Instead, they resent wealth and convince themselves that large financial gains are ill-gotten.

Jeffrey A. Miron is Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Harvard University and Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. Miron blogs at JeffreyMiron.com and is the author of Libertarianism, from A to Z.

 

More by Jeffrey A. Miron

The liberal views on fairness and redistribution are far more defensible, of course, when it comes to providing for the truly needy. Reasonable people can criticize the structure of current anti-poverty programs, or argue that the system is overly generous, or suggest that private charity would be more effective at caring for the least vulnerable.

The desire to help the poor, however, represents a generous instinct: giving to those in desperate situations, where bad luck undoubtedly plays a major role. Soaking the rich is a selfish instinct, one that undermines good will generally.

And most Americans share this perspective. They are enthusiastic about public and private attempt to help the poor, but they do not agree that soaking the rich is fair. That is why U.S. policy has rarely embraced punitive income taxation or an aggressive estate tax. Instead, Americans are happy to celebrate well-earned success. The liberal hatred of the rich is a minority view, not a widely shared American value.

For America to restore its economic greatness, it must put aside the liberal hatred of the rich and embrace anew its deeply held respect for success. If it does, America will have enough for everyone.

Is soaking the rich fair?

Is soaking the rich fair?

Five Key Reasons to Reject Class-Warfare Tax Policy

Uploaded by on Jun 15, 2009

President Obama and other politicians are advocating higher taxes, with a particular emphasis on class-warfare taxes targeting the so-called rich. This Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation video explains why fiscal policy based on hate and envy is fundamentally misguided. For more information please visit our web page: www.freedomandprosperity.org.

Is soaking the rich fair?

Soaking the Rich Is Not Fair

by Jeffrey A. Miron

Jeffrey A. Miron is Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Harvard University and Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. Miron blogs at JeffreyMiron.com and is the author of Libertarianism, from A to Z.

Added to cato.org on September 2, 2011

This article appeared on The Huffington Post on September 2, 2011.

What is the “fair” amount of taxation on high-income taxpayers?

To liberals, the answer is always “more.” Liberals view high income — meaning any income that exceeds their own — as the result of luck or anti-social behavior. Hence liberals believe “fairness” justifies government-imposed transfers from the rich to everyone else. Many conservatives accept this view implicitly. They oppose soak-the-rich policies because of concern over growth, but they do not dispute whether such policies are fair.

But high tax rates on the rich are not fair or desirable for any other reason; they are an expression of America’s worst instincts, and their adverse consequences go beyond their negatives for economic growth.

The liberal hatred of the rich is a minority view, not a widely shared American value.

Consider first the view that differences in income result from luck rather than hard work: some people are born with big trust funds or innate skill and talent, and these fortuitous differences explain much of why some people have higher incomes than others.

Never mind that such a characterization is grossly incomplete. Luck undoubtedly explains some income differences, but this is not the whole story. Many trust fund babies have squandered their wealth, and inborn skill or talent means little unless combined with hard work.

But even if all income differences reflect luck, why are government-imposed “corrections” fair? The fact that liberals assert this does not make it true, any more than assertions to the contrary make it false. Fairness is an ill-defined, infinitely malleable concept, readily tailored to suit the ends of those asserting fairness, independent of facts or reason.

Worse, if liberals can assert a right to the wealth of the rich, why cannot others assert the right to similar transfers, such as from blacks to whites, Catholics to Protestants, or Sunni to Shia? Government coercion based on one group’s view of fairness is a first step toward arbitrary transfers of all kinds.

Now consider the claim that income differences result from illegal, unethical, or otherwise inappropriate behavior. This claim has an element of truth: some wealth results from illegal acts, and policies that punish such acts are appropriate.

But most inappropriate wealth accumulations results from bad government policies: those that restrict competition, enable crony capitalism, and hand large tax breaks to politically connected interest groups. These differences in wealth are a social ill, but the right response is removing the policies that promote them, not targeting everyone with high income.

The claim that soaking the rich is fair, therefore, has no basis in logic or in generating desirable outcomes; instead, it represents envy and hatred.

Why do liberals hate the rich? Perhaps because liberals were the “smart” but nerdy and socially awkward kids in high school, the ones who aced the SATs but did not excel at sports and rarely got asked to the prom. Some of their “dumber” classmates, meanwhile, went on to make more money, marry better-looking spouses, and have more fun.

Liberals find all this unjust because it rekindles their emotional insecurities from long ago. They do not have the honesty to accept that those with less SAT smarts might have other skills that the marketplace values. Instead, they resent wealth and convince themselves that large financial gains are ill-gotten.

Jeffrey A. Miron is Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Harvard University and Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. Miron blogs at JeffreyMiron.com and is the author of Libertarianism, from A to Z.

 

More by Jeffrey A. Miron

The liberal views on fairness and redistribution are far more defensible, of course, when it comes to providing for the truly needy. Reasonable people can criticize the structure of current anti-poverty programs, or argue that the system is overly generous, or suggest that private charity would be more effective at caring for the least vulnerable.

The desire to help the poor, however, represents a generous instinct: giving to those in desperate situations, where bad luck undoubtedly plays a major role. Soaking the rich is a selfish instinct, one that undermines good will generally.

And most Americans share this perspective. They are enthusiastic about public and private attempt to help the poor, but they do not agree that soaking the rich is fair. That is why U.S. policy has rarely embraced punitive income taxation or an aggressive estate tax. Instead, Americans are happy to celebrate well-earned success. The liberal hatred of the rich is a minority view, not a widely shared American value.

For America to restore its economic greatness, it must put aside the liberal hatred of the rich and embrace anew its deeply held respect for success. If it does, America will have enough for everyone.

Cato’s Jeffrey Miron: “The liberal hatred of the rich is a minority view…”

Maybe the tide is turning. Americans do not hate the rich like liberals would have us believe. Take a look at this article:

Soaking the Rich Is Not Fair

by Jeffrey A. Miron

This article appeared on The Huffington Post on September 2, 2011.

What is the “fair” amount of taxation on high-income taxpayers?

To liberals, the answer is always “more.” Liberals view high income — meaning any income that exceeds their own — as the result of luck or anti-social behavior. Hence liberals believe “fairness” justifies government-imposed transfers from the rich to everyone else. Many conservatives accept this view implicitly. They oppose soak-the-rich policies because of concern over growth, but they do not dispute whether such policies are fair.

But high tax rates on the rich are not fair or desirable for any other reason; they are an expression of America’s worst instincts, and their adverse consequences go beyond their negatives for economic growth.

The liberal hatred of the rich is a minority view, not a widely shared American value.

Consider first the view that differences in income result from luck rather than hard work: some people are born with big trust funds or innate skill and talent, and these fortuitous differences explain much of why some people have higher incomes than others.

Never mind that such a characterization is grossly incomplete. Luck undoubtedly explains some income differences, but this is not the whole story. Many trust fund babies have squandered their wealth, and inborn skill or talent means little unless combined with hard work.

But even if all income differences reflect luck, why are government-imposed “corrections” fair? The fact that liberals assert this does not make it true, any more than assertions to the contrary make it false. Fairness is an ill-defined, infinitely malleable concept, readily tailored to suit the ends of those asserting fairness, independent of facts or reason.

Worse, if liberals can assert a right to the wealth of the rich, why cannot others assert the right to similar transfers, such as from blacks to whites, Catholics to Protestants, or Sunni to Shia? Government coercion based on one group’s view of fairness is a first step toward arbitrary transfers of all kinds.

Now consider the claim that income differences result from illegal, unethical, or otherwise inappropriate behavior. This claim has an element of truth: some wealth results from illegal acts, and policies that punish such acts are appropriate.

But most inappropriate wealth accumulations results from bad government policies: those that restrict competition, enable crony capitalism, and hand large tax breaks to politically connected interest groups. These differences in wealth are a social ill, but the right response is removing the policies that promote them, not targeting everyone with high income.

The claim that soaking the rich is fair, therefore, has no basis in logic or in generating desirable outcomes; instead, it represents envy and hatred.

Why do liberals hate the rich? Perhaps because liberals were the “smart” but nerdy and socially awkward kids in high school, the ones who aced the SATs but did not excel at sports and rarely got asked to the prom. Some of their “dumber” classmates, meanwhile, went on to make more money, marry better-looking spouses, and have more fun.

Liberals find all this unjust because it rekindles their emotional insecurities from long ago. They do not have the honesty to accept that those with less SAT smarts might have other skills that the marketplace values. Instead, they resent wealth and convince themselves that large financial gains are ill-gotten.

Jeffrey A. Miron is Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Harvard University and Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. Miron blogs at JeffreyMiron.com and is the author ofLibertarianism, from A to Z.

More by Jeffrey A. Miron

The liberal views on fairness and redistribution are far more defensible, of course, when it comes to providing for the truly needy. Reasonable people can criticize the structure of current anti-poverty programs, or argue that the system is overly generous, or suggest that private charity would be more effective at caring for the least vulnerable.

The desire to help the poor, however, represents a generous instinct: giving to those in desperate situations, where bad luck undoubtedly plays a major role. Soaking the rich is a selfish instinct, one that undermines good will generally.

And most Americans share this perspective. They are enthusiastic about public and private attempt to help the poor, but they do not agree that soaking the rich is fair. That is why U.S. policy has rarely embraced punitive income taxation or an aggressive estate tax. Instead, Americans are happy to celebrate well-earned success. The liberal hatred of the rich is a minority view, not a widely shared American value.

For America to restore its economic greatness, it must put aside the liberal hatred of the rich and embrace anew its deeply held respect for success. If it does, America will have enough for everyone.

Buffett wants the rich soaked but that will not solve our problem in the budget

Max Brantley on the Arkansas Times Blog, August 15, 2011, asserted:

Billionaire Warren Buffett laments, again, in a New York Times op-ed how the rich don’t share the sacrifices made by others in the U.S.. He notes his effectiie tax rate of 17 percent is lower than that of many of the working people in his office on account of preferences for investment income. Candidates such as U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin believe — with election results to support them — that Americans support such a tax system.

In the article below, Jeffrey Miron gives figures that show that Buffett is wrong about soaking the rich to solve our budget problem. However, he also shows how the federal government has acted in such a way

Why Warren Buffett Is Wrong

by Jeffrey A. Miron

This article appeared on CNN.com on August 16, 2011.

In a recent New York Times op-ed article, Warren Buffett asserts that the super-rich do not pay enough taxes. He suggests that any new budget deal should raise rates on the super-rich, especially on their “unearned” income from interest, dividends and capital gains.

Buffett is wrong. Bad government policies play a major role in generating inappropriately high incomes, but singling out the super-rich is misguided. And the policy Buffett criticizes most — low tax rates on capital income — should be expanded, not eliminated.

The first problem with Buffett’s view is that the number of super-rich is too small for higher rates to make much difference to our budget problems.

In 2009, the income earned by the 236,833 taxpayers with more than $1 million in adjusted gross income was about $727 billion. Imposing a 10% surcharge on this income would generate at most $73 billion in new revenue — only about 2% of federal spending. And $73 billion is optimistic; the super-rich will avoid or evade much of the surcharge, significantly lowering its yield.

Bad government policies play a major role in generating inappropriately high incomes, but singling out the super-rich is misguided.

Focusing on the super-rich also fosters a counterproductive attitude toward material success. The way to promote a hard-working, entrepreneurial and innovative society is to celebrate great wealth so long as it has been earned by legitimate means. When this is not the case, policy should target the wrongdoing directly, not demonize everyone who hits it big.

Most importantly, singling out the super-rich distracts from the real problem: the myriad policies that make no sense in the first place because they inhibit economic growth and that simultaneously redistribute from low-income households to the middle and upper classes.

The deductibility of home mortgage interest encourages excess investment in housing. High-income taxpayers get the benefits, since low-income taxpayers own little or no housing and do not itemize deductions in any case.

The favorable tax treatment of employer-paid health insurance generates overconsumption of health care and contributes to rising health care costs. The benefits go mainly to middle- and upper-income households, since those without jobs get no employer-provided benefits.

Numerous loopholes for favored industries in the corporate tax code distort the market’s investment decisions and reward the well-funded and politically connected.

And it is not just the tax code that harms the economy while favoring the better off.

Excessive licensing requirements, permitting fees, restrictive examinations and other barriers to entry into medicine, law, plumbing, hair styling and many other professions are bad for economic productivity because they artificially restrict the supply of these services. And these barriers redistribute income perversely by raising incomes for those protected and raising prices for everyone.

Crony capitalism — the special treatment of favored industries like autos — runs counter to economic efficiency because it protects businesses that would otherwise fail, and it maintains high incomes for executives and shareholders.

The too-big-to-fail doctrine, exhibited most recently in the TARP bailout of Wall Street banks, distorts efficiency by encouraging excess risk-taking. Meanwhile, bailouts generate huge incomes for the lucky few who keep gains in good times and pass losses to taxpayers in bad times.

In contrast to these and other policies, the one Buffett criticizes — low tax rates on capital income — is beneficial for the economy, including lower-income households.

Jeffrey Miron is senior lecturer and director of undergraduate studies at Harvard University and Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. He is the author ofLibertarianism, from A to Z.

More by Jeffrey A. Miron

Economists agree broadly that an efficient tax system should avoid taxing income, dividends and capital gains to promote savings, investment and growth. Tax rates on capital income should therefore be low or even zero. The U.S. is far from this ideal, especially given the high tax rate on corporate income and the additional taxation at the personal level.

Buffet asserts that taxing capital income has never deterred anyone from investing. Well, then he has never discussed the issue with me or many of my friends.

More importantly, taxing investment returns plays a huge role in what kinds of investments occur, and where, even if it has minor effects on the amounts. These tax-induced distortions in investment choices then reduce economic growth. High U.S. taxation on capital income drives investment overseas.

So raising capital tax rates will not make the super-rich pay their “fair” share; it will encourage capital flight, driving factories and innovation abroad. The rich will still get their high returns, but U.S. workers will have fewer jobs and lower wages.

Buffett errs, most fundamentally, by focusing on outcomes rather than policies. The right question is which policies promote differences in incomes that reflect hard work, energy, innovation and creativity, rather than reward the unethical, the politically connected and the tax-savvy.

In economics, as in sports, we should adopt good rules and insist that everyone play by them. Then we should stand back and applaud the winners.

Five Key Reasons to Reject Class-Warfare Tax Policy

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