Thursday, September 22, 2016

Taxing the rich has strong voting appeal

We already have large deficits but no deficit is large enough for the interventionist, so they will boost fiscal spending. They will finance deficits by issuing government debt, which the central banks will monetize. The Treasury will issue debt, and then the Fed will buy all these debts. Of course, that will not end well, but it will postpone the problem for a while.

Then they will find some academics who will blame wealth inequality on the evil capitalists who made so much money out of asset bubbles.

They will blame the economic woes on these people. To some extent this is true. But the rich people did not create the inflated asset values; it was the central banks, by slashing interest rates to zero and negative interest rates in many countries.

First, you create mispricings through artificially low rates and negative interest rates and you boost the income and wealth of the super-rich. It’s at best the 0.1 percent that really benefit from asset inflation, at the cost of all the people that have no assets and so you have this rising wealth inequality. So we have to tax the rich people and tax them more.

Taking money from the rich is appealing if you go to voters, and you say to them, “Look, the reason the economy is doing so badly, it’s because of the rich people, the billionaires. We have to take 20 percent away from them and give it to you.” You can be sure that everybody will vote for that because the wealthy are a minority. This is what happens after monetary policies completely fail.

Some well-connected people will hide their wealth but a lot of people won’t. Even if they take 50 percent from the richest, it’s not going to help. The next step will be to take money from less wealthy people; the interventionists will go all the way.