Monday, April 21, 2014

Robert Samuelson Views Pikkety's Book As Class Warfare

To the surprise of nobody,  Robert Samuelson provides his analysis of Piketty's book and concludes that increasing taxes on the wealthy is class warfare.  Moreover, he argues that increasing taxes on the super-rich will slow down economic growth. 

Taxes on the super-rich were much higher in our recent past, and the economy grew faster in the high tax period than it has been doing since taxes on the super-rich were reduced.  This does not suggest that higher taxes on the super-rich is good for economic growth.  It does indicate however that lower taxes on the rich do not increase the economic growth rate.  Tax policy seems to have a weak relationship to economic growth.

Samuelson also displays his customary ignorance about class warfare.  When politicians make the tax system less progressive it is not class warfare.  We only have class warfare when politicians are asked to make the tax system more progressive.  For Samuelson, and most conservatives, class warfare is a one way street.  It is only conducted against the super-rich. 

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