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Brundage's Rebuttal: Should the Bush-era tax cuts be repealed for the wealthiest Americans?


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.



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