Over the past number of months, Ben Stein, a die-hard Republican, has written a few columns that I've mentioned here mainly because they were attacking the greedy rich and the outrageous pay packages that CEOs have taken for themselves. When a I-love-capitalism Republican has to stand up and say "enough is enough," it's a sign of how corrupt and immoral our economy, and its business and political leaders, have become.
So, today, Stein does another interesting turn: he calls for higher taxes on the rich. In a column dressed up as a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Stein says: Note to the New Treasury Secretary: It's Time to Raise Taxes. Stein buries his recommendation amid a litany of economic woes. But, here's the important paragraph:
May I respectfully suggest that in this environment, ending the estate tax is not a major sensible priority? May I suggest that having the lowest taxes in 65 years on high-income taxpayers is not really as prudent as it might be if we were not running stupendous deficits, with far worse in the future?
This is not rocket science and has been evident to many people who have decried the destruction of a progressive taxation system: we can deal with every financial issue we have if the rich were forced to pay their fair share. In New York alone, fro example, at the state level, if we had the tax system we had in the 1970s, 95 percent of the people would get a tax cut and only the top five percent of wage earners would pay more in taxes--and there would be $8 billion more in the treasury.