Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Saturday, March 07, 2009

A Straw-Man Argument?

I find it hard to believe that the mistake discussed here and here and reported here could be that common:

A 63-year-old attorney based in Lafayette, La., who asked not to be named, told that she plans to cut back on her business to get her annual income under the quarter million mark should the Obama tax plan be passed by Congress and become law.

"We are going to try to figure out how to make our income $249,999.00," she said.

"We have to find a way out where we can make just what we need to just under the line so we can benefit from Obama's tax plan," she added. "Why kill yourself working if you're going to give it all away to people who aren't working as hard?"

For one thing, I suspect most people able to make such a mistake (believing that the money retained under most progressive tax plans goes down in some brackets) don't have a high enough income for that to matter. (On the other hand, there's Chet.)

What is likely to happen is that people with incomes over $250,000 might not try increasing their nominal incomes. At the highest levels, they might take the extra income in the form of expense accounts. (We can expect a revival of the three-martini lunch.) At slightly-lower levels, they might substitute extra leisure for added income. (We might see a revival of upper-middle-class people mowing their own lawns.) It wasn't a coincidence that elaborate expense accounts and an absence of hired help were common in the confiscatory-tax era but not before or since.


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