Magazine article Insight on the News

Taxing the Rich Sucks Capital from Economy

Magazine article Insight on the News

Taxing the Rich Sucks Capital from Economy

Article excerpt

Liberals hate the idea, but the prosperity of everyone in a market economy depends in good part upon the rich. The capital they have earned and saved generates investments and creates jobs. Their savings keep interest rates low, and their philanthropy allows charities and the arts to thrive.

So, naturally, the rich suffer disproportionately these days. They are vilified by the media and taxed to death by government at all levels. Some even have started to leave the country -- last year, about 1,000 up their citizenship rather their earnings further looted by a grasping federal government.

During the last year, we've seen the departure of Harding Lawrence, past chairman of Braniff International, and his wife, Mary, founder of the innovative advertising firm Wells, Rich and Greene. New York violinist Yehudi Menuhin and former Heinz executive Joseph Bogdanovich have had it too. We used to shake a finger at foreign countries such as Great Britain that taxed the successful so severely that they went into exile. Now the United States is doing it, causing a capital and brain drain.

But neither party has gotten the message. The Republicans want to tax these victims of fiscal expropriation another 10 years after they've given up their citizenship and left the United States. But that implies that the citizen is an indentured servant of the state and the expatriate a mere fugitive slave to the tax police.

If the Republican plan is objectionable, the Democratic plan is downright tyrannical. The Clinton administration proposed to confiscate the assets of anyone moving from this high-tax country to a lower-tax nation.

Neither party considers how embarrassing it is for the land of the free to develop an emigration problem. Everyone used to want to come here to escape the tyranny of the old world. Now we're becoming the old world to the new world of North Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and even Britain.

As our immigration law has subsidized what the Statue of Liberty's poem calls "wretched refuse," our tax law has run our best citizens out of the country. Immigrants are lured by the lavish welfare state while emigrants are repulsed by the confiscatory taxes necessary to pay for it. …

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