June 7, 2011
Summer Reading: The Trouble With BillionairesNeil Buchanan (George Washington) reviews Linda McQuaig & Neil Brooks, The Trouble With Billionaires, (Viking Canada, 2010), in Should We Tax the Rich, or Leave Them Alone:
Some books are years ahead of their time, while others are stale before they are printed. The Trouble with Billionaires, which was published last September, was almost perfectly timed, hitting the bookshelves just as we became aware of the increasing influence of a handful of billionaires on the political system in the United States. Although the authors are Canadian (McQuaig a journalist, and Brooks one of the top tax academics in the world), they perfectly captured the current political moment in the U.S. The super-wealthy now truly run the show, and they are less shy than ever about doing so. ...
The book concludes with a bold list of redistributive policy prescriptions, none of which are currently thinkable in the U.S. (or, apparently, in many other countries). McQuaig and Brooks’s achievement lies in making the argument that extreme wealth will do all that it can to perpetuate itself, including making taxing the rich politically toxic. The answer is not to pretend that we can ignore the power of the wealthy. The only answer is to confront it.
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Yes, we need more redistribution, because the rich held up poor people with a gun and stole their money or otherwise defrauded them.
Oh wait, in most cases they became rich by offering products that improved the lives of millions or billions of people and were freely purchased on the open market. Damn those rich people, getting wealthy by satisfying consumer demand. They have no right to their money! We need to have the government confiscate it so the progressive elites can decide how best to spend (waste) it!!
Posted by: Todd | Jun 7, 2011 11:57:35 AM
I wish that Paul had a "Like" button for Todd's comment.
Posted by: Woody | Jun 7, 2011 2:52:26 PM