Put a 100% tax on all personal income over $1 billion

My entire life I’ve been hearing politicians, political commentators and angry old men sitting on their front porches arguing about how much the rich should be taxed. After all these years it seems like there hasn’t been any progress made towards a common consensus. For what it’s worth, here’s my take on the issue.

The big argument against raising taxes on the rich is that the less taxes the rich pay (and thus, the more money they take home) the more incentive they’ll have to work hard and create jobs whereas if we tax the rich heavily then they will have no motivation to grow their businesses as those heavy taxes would effectively punish them for being successful. Thousands of articles, speeches, papers and books have been written picking this idea apart and going round and round in circles about it, but every one I’ve read has missed a fundamental concept.

You become a millionaire by working hard. However, there isn’t enough time, energy or opportunity in one person’s life to become a billionaire through hard work. The only way you become a billionaire is by underpaying your workers and over charging for your products (or owning stock in companies that underpay their workers and over charge their customers). So the only way to become a billionaire is to steal. The way you do that may be legal, but it’s still stealing.

You want to fix the economy? Put a 100% tax on individual’s income over $1billion. No human being needs more than $1billion, and if you made it impossible to make more than $1billion then you will eliminate the incentive for anyone to try. This won’t stop people from working harder. It will just stop people from exploiting their workers and their customers or cutting jobs to maximize profit.

Plus, you could use those billions of tax dollars you’ve liberated from the greedy to stimulate the economy by creating new businesses. Think about it. If you want to create jobs and stimulate the economy…then create jobs. The government should sell “one of every product.” If the government used the money it requisitioned from the rich to start businesses it could regulate those businesses and make sure its employees got paid a fair percentage of the profit their work generates. The government could guarantee its workers are treated with more dignity than McDonalds treats it workers. The government could guarantee the quality and safety of its products, and this would stimulate competition with the rest of the private companies.

Best of all, if government sold one of every product then the extra profit those businesses generate could go directly to paying for public programs instead of paying for a CEO’s new yacht that he bought in a foreign country. If the government made enough money off the goods and products it sold we could eliminate the need for many of the taxes and fees we pay. If nothing else, we could subsidize health care or give our teachers raises or invest in free education.

Do you believe America is a welfare state? Then instead of giving money away to the poor, clear out every other floor of the projects and replace those apartments with offices and pay for it with the stolen money the government has taken back from the ultra-wealthy. Give everyone in the projects jobs right there in the projects. That will eliminate the excuse of not being able to find a job, and it will eliminate the need for the poor to buy cars and gas to travel across town to demeaning jobs that pay demeaning wages.

Americans are raised on the idea that working like a slave without complaining and hording money are hallmarks of virtue, but the reality is that some people don’t want to work like slaves nor do they want a lot of money. If the government opened businesses that didn’t set Asian sweatshop work quotas and paid their workers okay wages with lifetime job security, a lot of individuals who would have otherwise turned to a life of crime to support their unambitious lifestyle would gravitate to these jobs…where they would be happy and not bother anyone. But billionaires bent on squeezing every last minute and thus every last dollar out of their employees would never set up this business model, nor do they care if the abusive work ethic they mandate drives people to a life of crime. That’s not their problem. The government could do it though, but they’d need capital to set these low-profit businesses up, and right now the billionaires are stealing the nation’s wealth and bankrupting the country, crippling the government’s ability to create a reasonable safety net for the poorest of the poor.

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