Brundage’s Rebuttal: Should the Bush-era tax cuts be repealed for the wealthiest Americans?

Opinions Columnist
Friday, September 28, 2012


Drechsler’s argument against taxes on the wealthy leaves out that the function of the taxes is not only to redistribute wealth but also to pay for public goods. I am left confused about the distinctions among his use of the terms resources, capital, social value and welfare, and I only halfheartedly agree that markets “naturally allocate capital and resources to those who use that capital to produce the most social value.” Markets do not appropriately recognize the social value of, say, a teacher. Furthermore, markets do little to determine a favorable distribution of that produced social value, and they do nothing to pay for necessities like infrastructure and education.

I find it naive to suggest that the poor in this country are vastly better off solely because of the people – the ultra-wealthy – who made it possible. Certainly their successful participation in a near free market economy benefits everyone more than it would if the government determined wealth distribution, but the poor are largely better off because of what tax dollars directly provide that would not otherwise be provided. Whether you believe it is good or bad that the government does this is irrelevant, but to suggest that the living conditions of the poor are only better because of the social value produced in a free market simply isn’t factual.

My opponent’s point that wealth redistribution does not maximize common welfare is a fine argument. I recognize that my goal is a formulaic balance of maximizing this common welfare and fairly distributing it, even if it makes the total welfare pie a bit smaller – this is the classic debate of equality versus efficiency. Still, his point suggests that all taxes are bad, and my counter is a bit more theoretical than determining whether we should maintain Bush-era taxes. It would further require that I put on my ideological lenses, which I was asked to suspend for this argument. As for this debate, I maintain that more revenue is needed to balance the federal budget and taking it from the wealthy has a lower economic impact than taking it from the poor.

  • Anonymous

    taxes should never ever be used for the redistribution of wealth.
    redistribution of wealth in its most natural state is through achievement and efforts. as long one is able to function, one should be held responsible for their own success.

    nobody argues about a safety net, but it should not be a given that merely because you don’t have anything you are entitled to your neighbors share of wealth.

    individual charities have outperformed beyond imagination the role of the government. the government role is diminished by its gross inefficiency and waste.

    should we care about our neighbors and friends – certainly, but not through the government, who has the worst track record in handling any business affairs. medicare ( i keep hearing obama and other spew how they will stop the abuse and fraud when he was running for office. and it is funny – he still says the same thing, because instead of stopping it – the abuse and fraud was allowed to flourish.

    the politicians count on the abuse and fraud to garner votes and thereby encourage the fraud to continue.

    the last statement by you with reference to taking it from the wealthy is correct, you can’t take it from the poor.
    ironically the rich and the not so rich would not mind giving more if the fraud and misapplication of funds was not so rampant. i.e. solyndra, giving money to terrorist states, the gsa parties paid for by tax payers.

    why don’t we start with cleaning up the company, in this case the government, then we would have more than enough money left. so far obama has given out more than 7 billion dollars to defund companies, merely because someone donated to his campaign. or why should the taxpayer pay for obama’s dog to fly around the country or his daughters go on a vacation to mexico for that matter.
    when you stop all this nonsense, then we can intelligently discuss raising the taxes.

    i would rather give a poor person a few bucks than to give more money to the government so michelle obama can fly around the world with an entourage.

    there are any other examples i could offer to generate money for worthwhile causes or are these enough?