Archive for April, 2011

“There aren’t enough rich people”

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Dr. Walter Williams is the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University.  This means that (a) he has a proven track record as an economist, and (b) he is in a position (in Fairfax, Virginia) to keep an eye on the corrupt enterprise that is our national government.  In this column, he explains why the standard approach to staving off national bankruptcy – soaking the greedy rich – won’t work.  As the title says, there just aren’t enough rich people with enough money.  [Read the whole piece here.  While you’re there, read some more of his stuff.  It may cure you if you’re addicted to CNN and Time magazine for information about economics.]

This year, Congress will spend $3.7 trillion dollars. That turns out to be about $10 billion per day. Can we prey upon the rich to cough up the money? According to IRS statistics, roughly 2 percent of U.S. households have an income of $250,000 and above. By the way, $250,000 per year hardly qualifies one as being rich. It’s not even yacht and Lear jet money. All told, households earning $250,000 and above account for 25 percent, or $1.97 trillion, of the nearly $8 trillion of total household income. If Congress imposed a 100 percent tax, taking all earnings above $250,000 per year, it would yield the princely sum of $1.4 trillion. That would keep the government running for 141 days, but there’s a problem because there are 224 more days left in the year.

How about corporate profits to fill the gap? Fortune 500 companies earn nearly $400 billion in profits. Since leftists think profits are little less than theft and greed, Congress might confiscate these ill-gotten gains so that they can be returned to their rightful owners. Taking corporate profits would keep the government running for another 40 days, but that along with confiscating all income above $250,000 would only get us to the end of June. Congress must search elsewhere.

According to Forbes 400, America has 400 billionaires with a combined net worth of $1.3 trillion. Congress could confiscate their stocks and bonds, and force them to sell their businesses, yachts, airplanes, mansions and jewelry. The problem is that after fleecing the rich of their income and net worth, and the Fortune 500 corporations of their profits, it would only get us to mid-August. The fact of the matter is there are not enough rich people to come anywhere close to satisfying Congress’ voracious spending appetite. They’re going to have to go after the non-rich.

They’re coming after you and me.

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