Wednesday, February 11, 2009


A letter that appeared in today's New York Times, from David P. Colley of Easton, Pennsylvania:

Re "Please Raise My Taxes" (Op-Ed, Feb. 6):

The suggestion by Reed Hastings to tax executive earnings of more than $1 million at 50 percent is long overdue. As he says, it would divert public anger and it would be a relatively easy method to help control runaway compensation packages.

I would suggest a graded system in which earnings would be taxed at higher and higher rates -- say, 60 percent on pay over $10 million, 70 percent on $20 million, and so on.

These higher taxes would immediately help curtail the unbridled greed gripping corporate boards....

Does Mr. Colley not even know? For decades we had a "graded system" -- scroll through the tables here and see how many tax rates we had, and how high the top rates were. And remember that the period with the highest rates of progressivity included years when America had widespread prosperity and its broadest middle class.

It's basically economic history -- and apparently it's forgotten.

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