March 31, 2011

Letter to the Editor: Selective tax increases are not the answer

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To the Editor:

Re: “Wisconsin’s Budget Approach: Solution or Disaster?” Opinion, March 30

The author recommends that governments “take the money that is currently available in the pocketbooks of a small yet extremely wealthy sect of Americans” in order to solve budget problems around the country. Putting aside the fact that it is immoral to selectively take property of anyone — the wealthy included — solely because they “can afford it,” the author ignores the important fact that the incomes of the wealthy vary to huge degrees —  California’s experience, recently reported in such outlets as The New York Times and The Atlantic, is instructive. Depending on the wildly fluctuating tax base that is the incomes of the wealthy introduces harmful instability and unpredictability. Governments would do well to put aside in the good years rather than spending everything they grab from the wealthy on misguided programs. Increasing taxes on the wealthy only encourages them to do the opposite.

Francis Sohn law ’11