Last week, my wife told me that Michael Stipe, the lead singer for one of the favorite bands of my youth, had opened a rally for Senator Bernie Sanders. I knew the guy was an insufferable lefty, but it still got me thinking about why rich celebrities love to support socialists, seemingly against their own interest.
And then I realized — like a snail coming late to a conclusion that everyone else has long since reached — that it actually is in their best interests to support these policies because “income redistribution” — as opposed to “property redistribution” — doesn’t impact the already-wealthy all that much. Rather, income redistribution is a tax against other people becoming wealthy.
Sanders is not proposing that the rich pay their fair share: he’s proposing that people becoming rich cough-up the money they’re busy earning. Those like Stipe have already made their fortunes. Sure, Sanders’s high taxes will have some impact on his further income, but Sanders isn’t proposing to confiscate Stipe’s existing wealth; it’s the next musician — the one who isn’t already filthy rich — who will be paying 80% of his income, thus preventing him from ever reaching the lofty status of those like Michael Stipe.
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Rather, income redistribution is a tax against other people becoming wealthy.
I have seen this argument put differently before, but never quite so pithily. Why do wealthy celebrities support high tax proposing progressive politicians? It is a strategy for securing one's status as part of the wealthy elite by decimating the rising competition.