Do We Need a Wealth Tax?

Thursday, September 26, 2019
The New York Times

A wealth tax is only a start

A wealth tax could close the country’s wealth gap from the top, and the universal social programs it helps fund could go some way to closing the wealth gap at the bottom. But more targeted redistributive measures, like reparations, may be needed to completely close the gap between blacks and whites, argues William Darity Jr., a professor of public policy at Duke University. He told The Times:

That’s an objective that is not achieved by any of the existing policies on the table now. Ultimately, you need a person-based program if you’re really concerned about the racial wealth gap. And it not only has to be person-based, but it has to be race-specific.

Some on the left have also criticized the idea of a wealth tax as utopian in its belief that those at capitalism’s helm would steer the system in a direction it by nature does not want to go. To fix the problem at the root, writes Benjamin Kunkel in The London Review of Books, imagine a market socialist revolution through which the shares of all corporations are transferred into public hands. With ownership of the means of production more evenly distributed, inequality wouldn’t deepen automatically as Mr. Piketty says it does under capitalism. Mr. Kunkel writes:

The notion of such a revolution — first in one country, then gatheringly international but not yet universal — is fanciful right now. But is it more so than a global capital tax requiring the coordination of virtually all nations? … Socialist revolution frankly seems more likely. … Capitalism can dispense with democracy more easily than with profits.

Read the full article here .