Paul L. Caron

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Raskolnikov: Taxing The Ten Percent

Alex Raskolnikov (Columbia), Taxing the Ten Percent, 62 Hous. L. Rev. __ (2025):

Houston law reviewThe United States government is rapidly approaching the point when it will have no choice but to raise taxes. But whose taxes should go up, and why? The argument for higher taxes on the top one percent is well known. The case for higher taxes on the next nine percent is not. This Article makes that case.

Americans with incomes in the top ten percent but not the top one percent are not rich, but they are not middle class either—they are affluent. 

These affluent Americans have seen mostly tax cuts over the past three decades. Yet today, as progressive politicians and academics advance dramatic proposals for taxing the rich, higher taxes on the affluent remain beyond the pale. This is a mistake. The economic fortunes and the tax-paying capacity of the affluent have been on a steady, if unrecognized, ascent. Moreover, the affluent have entrenched their economic advantage more successfully than any other group, the top one percent included. Because this economic advantage is backed by a dominant cultural narrative and strong political muscle, the economic position of the affluent in American society is enviably secure. As the country’s fiscal situation grows increasingly dire and the gap between the well-off and the rest grows increasingly wide, it is beyond unwise to continue giving the affluent a tax pass. The top one percent should pay more in taxes; the next nine percent should as well. With proper structuring, this tax increase may be implemented by enacting a carbon tax, a value added tax, a national income tax, by reforming the payroll tax or tax expenditures, or by adjusting the rate structure.

Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink