More Taxes or Less Money?

Tom lauds the spirit of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings who writes a New York Times guest editorial called, “Please, Raise My Taxes.” Tom is in  the Obama/Biden 1.0 mode that it’s patriotic to pay taxes. I don’t know if he’s gotten the 1.2 Geithner upgrade from HopeChange Headquarters which includes, “Unless you’re actually in charge of collecting taxes.” Or perhaps the server sent a /ignore command as Tom and most of the Idaho blogosphere (ex: Chris at Unequivocal Notion.) have ignored the fact that several appointees to the, “Paying taxes is patriotic Administration.” didn’t bother to pay them.

Ethics in government apparently only matters to leftist bloggers when Republicans are in power. I’m proud of the fact that if you’ve followed this blog long, you’ve seen me willing to go after Republicans when they’re wrong, on ethics or on the issues. I don’t think you can say that for most of the Idaho blogosphere.

Actually, reading Hastings piece isn’t at all what you’d expect. Hastings is not prompted to call for a tax increase from 35% to 50% because of a love of paying taxes, but because of President Obama’s ham-handed attempt to regulate CEO pay. Writes Hastings:

This week, President Obama proposed imposing a $500,000 compensation cap on companies seeking a bailout. It’s a terrible idea. We all want the taxpayers’ money returned, and capping compensation at bailout recipients will just make it that much harder for those boards to hire and hold on to the executives who can lead their companies to compete and thrive.

Hastings proposes the tax increase not out of any sense of economic understanding, but rather so that the American people’s sense of envy can be met:

Of course, it’s galling when a chief executive fails and is still handsomely rewarded. But with the concept of “tax, not shame,” a shocking $20 million severance package would generate $10 million for the government. That’s a far better solution than what we have today, not least because it works with the market rather than against it.

Another advantage is that it would also cover the sometimes huge earnings of hedge fund managers, star athletes, stunning movie stars, venture capitalists and the chief executives of private companies. Surely there is no reason to focus only on executives at publicly traded companies.

Indeed, we can therefore by increasing the tax rate to 50%, get to smile with satisfaction that the rich are being soaked. But will our economy do well by taking money from people who earn money and therefore no how create businesses, jobs, and products, and is transferred to the government which these days best seems to know how to create fraud, mismanagement, and corruption.

Your average Congressman is guilty of more malfeasance than Bernie Madoff, and transferring more money to them is idiotic.

I think that by telling people 35% of these big packages are going to the federal will be just as re-assuring as increasing that number to 50% and wrecking havoc on the economy in the process.

Of course, Mr. Hastings may have some selfish motives in suggesting a 50% tax rate. Congressman Barney Frank (D-Ma.) is rubbing his hands together, dreaming of extending executive compensation limits to all businesses whether they are successful or not. His compensation would be capped at $500,000. Currently, he earns $2.4 million.  Which would you rather have, 65% of $500,000 or 50% of $2.4 million. For the Math challenged, under a salary cap, Hastings would take home $325,000, under a 50% tax rate, he’d take home $1.2 million.