Give Republicans Credit Where It Is Due December 8, 2023 Specifically: The top 1% of American earners now control more wealth than the nation’s entire middle class. — USA Today. There are a lot of reasons for this, but high among them is that every Republican since Reagan (except Bush 41) has cut taxes for the rich, while Republicans in Congress have worked to protect those gains when Democrats held power. Higher income and estate-tax rates, combined with fewer loopholes, would still allow the rich to get richer and live wonderfully well . . . which is fine by me (not least because I am one of them) . . . but begin to shift the balance back toward something many would consider more reasonable and — for society and the economy as a whole — more healthy. To make the point, imagine a world in which all income and capital gains above $1 million were exempt from tax, and in which there were no inheritance tax. It doesn’t take an economist to calculate that the wealth gap would grow even wider. Conversely, imagine that taxes on all income and inheritance above $1 million were 90% with no loopholes — and that it were enforced. It doesn’t take an economist to calculate that the wealth gap would shrink. Either extreme would be a disaster. > The former could lead to a feeling of victimhood — that the system is rigged — and to the rise of a ruthless demagogue (who alone can fix it). It’s happened before. > The latter could lead to a flight of capital and entrepreneurial talent — and a sapping of incentives — that would hurt us all, not just the top 1%. So most people agree that the best balance lies someplace in the middle. Many of us believe that the top 1%, through their outsize influence on both parties, but on the Republican Party in particular, have skewed the balance too far in their own favor. That’s why we see the solution lying not in the election of a demagogue, but in the re-election of a progressive, with a progressive Congress. Who — as a bonus — believe in the need to confront the climate crisis, the need for sensible gun safety regulation, the right of women to make their own health care decisions, the need for comprehensive bi-partisan immigration reform, the rule of law, the separation of church and state, and the peaceful transition of power. Have a great weekend!