The emergence of the American aristocracy

From a column in the Washington Post:

The nation faces rising inequality. Since 1980 the gap between the earnings of the top fifth and the bottom fifth has jumped by almost 50 percent. The United States is by some measures the most unequal society in the rich world and the most unequal that it’s been since the 1920s. What is the dumbest possible response to this? Identify the most progressive federal tax and repeal it.

The nation faces the prospect that inequality will damage meritocracy. When the distance between top and bottom widens, it becomes harder to traverse the gap; people of low birth are stuck at the bottom, and human talent is wasted. What is the dumbest possible response to this? Take the tax that limits what the super-rich pass on to their children and get rid of it. Send a message to hereditary elites: Go ahead, entrench yourselves!

He writes this like the people who should respond to this in the interests of the American people aren’t the same people who caused the situation in the first place, as if he really expects the aristocrats in Congress to look at rising inequality as a problem rather than the fruits of their labor. A repeal of the estate tax is just the culmination of their efforts.

We have a government the wealthy, for the wealthy, of the wealthy. Don’t hold any illusionments otherwise.

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