Let's invent new vindictive forms of taxation for fun
I'd like to thank Rob Long for not stealing my idea - as he'll be the first to tell you, that's a rare thing for a Hollywood guy. He said he’d post this if I didn’t, but apparently not. So:
During today's Ricochet podcast, we were talking taxes and revenue with Jonah Goldberg, and I suggested we adopt the ideas of those who want to tax wealth as well as income. The Moneybags set - you know, the ones whose forebears made a pile in Consolidated Monocle or cornered the sassafras market way back when - have piles of money that just sits there, unmolested, and we need to get at it to fund tomorrow's great ideas. (Or, more likely, fund yesterday's underfunded bad ideas.) That's the argument, anyway. But why stop there?
Why not treat tenure as wealth, and tax it accordingly? Take a college professor. (Please.) Calculate how much they'll make until retirement from their permanent job. Declare it wealth. Hoover up a chunk. Write in a provision that says they'll get 47% of the amount paid (with no interest, over ten years) if they ever quit, with the remainder going to a fund to pay for college tuitions for the poor. Sit back; make popcorn; enjoy the reactions.
Obviously not going to happen, but it brings up an idea: if you wanted to irritate the raise-taxes folks with tax-hiking proposals designed to nettle and sting their tender flanks, what would you do?
To hear more from James Lileks, be sure and check out this week's Ricochet Podcast (with Rob Long and Jonah Goldberg).