Have the rich always laughed stiff tax rates away?

March 2, 2019  —  By

Fans of grand fortune want us to believe that the rich have never paid much more of their income in taxes than they do now. Our actual history says different.

The guardians of our conventional wisdom on taxing the rich messed up, and they know it. They slacked off. They started believing their own tripe. Average Americans, they assumed, would never ever smile on proposals to raise tax rates on the richest among us. After all, the conventional wisdom maintains, those average folks figure that someday they’ll be rich, too.

But now, with tax-the-rich proposals proliferating and polling spectacularly well, the keepers of our bless-the-rich faith are panicking. Their old rhetorical zingers no longer zing.

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