Thursday, May 28, 2009

HuffPo: go get the Forbes 400 

Les Leopold over at HuffPo posted a piece yesterday that, after citing some of his own "research" indicating that the 400 wealthiest individuals in the U.S. averaged $3.9 billion in wealth in 2008 (or $1.56 trillion in the aggregate, which took me about 30 seconds to find online at Forbes), concluded with a rather startling paragraph:
"Here's a dangerous thought. What if we had a very steeply progressive wealth/income tax that reduced the net worth of the super-rich to 'only' about $100 million each? You wouldn't be suffering if you had $100 million kicking around. Now do the math: The 400 richest x $100 million each would equal $40 billion. That would leave about $1.52 trillion to help pay back the country for the Wall Street meltdown that we, our children and their children will be subsidizing."
Mr. Leopold received his master's degree from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton in 1975, so obviously we have to at least examine his proposal here at TigerHawk. Before I do that in any great detail, I think that I might email him to ask him if he is off of his meds, or something. It was nice of him to allow that last $100 million to stay in place, though.


By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Thu May 28, 02:01:00 PM:

Huey Long wannabe.

From the U.S. Social Security Administration:

"The Kingfish wanted the government to confiscate the wealth of the nation's rich and privileged. He called his program Share Our Wealth. It called upon the federal government to guarantee every family in the nation an annual income of $5,000, so they could have the necessities of life, including a home, a job, a radio and an automobile. He also proposed limiting private fortunes to $50 million, legacies to $5 million, and annual incomes to $1 million. Everyone over age 60 would receive an old-age pension. His slogan was 'Every Man A King.' "


By Blogger Georg Felis, at Thu May 28, 02:43:00 PM:

What a wonderful idea! However it is probably a bad thing to plunge into such a dramatic taxation without at least several test subjects in a trial period. Therefore starting tomorrow, I propose that a small sample, say for example all bloggers with the last name of “Leopold” and politicians with the last name of “Kennedy” be subjected to a 99% tax on all assets and income for a period of one year. At the end of one year, perhaps reality will have soaked into their heads.

Idiot. (Not you TH)  

By Anonymous Gandalf, at Thu May 28, 03:06:00 PM:

Isn't it nice the way the statist deals with other folks money. Why stop at $100 million? Did this misfit ever stop to think what the loss of that investment in the economy would do? I suggest that we try this out on Pelousi, Kennedy, Kerry, Rockafella, Boxer, Gates, Turner and OPRAH for a few years.  

By Anonymous tyree, at Thu May 28, 03:25:00 PM:

Does Les Leopold think the net worth of the 400 men an women are held in a money vault somewhere, a' la Scrooge McDuck? Does he realize what would happen to the value of their private assets if their sale was forced by an uncaring Federal bureaucracy?

They let anyone write anything over there at Huffpo.  

By Blogger James D, at Thu May 28, 03:53:00 PM:

According to Leopold, the 400 richest had an average wealth of $604 million in 1982, and $3.9 billion in 2008.

If he'd bothered to do the math, he'd have realized that getting from $604 million to $3.9 billion over 26 years requires a yield of just 7.5% after inflation (and taxes) on the initial amount.

He's calling for confiscation of wealth on a scale never before seen in human history because rich folks are making 7.5% on their money?

"Idiot" doesn't begin to do him justice.  

By Blogger bob, at Thu May 28, 05:13:00 PM:

Brilliant ideas always involve someone else paying the tab.  

By Blogger bob, at Thu May 28, 05:16:00 PM:

Here's my brilliant idea. How about everybody who supports this massive spending gets to pay for it?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu May 28, 05:22:00 PM:

Yeah, but Leo's concept IS the one Chimpy the Kenyan's socialists will adopt but, of course they'll tweak the details. Billionaires may be able to keep $100 million but the limit for most of us will probably be about $50 thousand. Of course, after the hyperinflation that destroys the middle class in the US, few of us will have that much.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Thu May 28, 05:41:00 PM:

"pay back the country for the Wall Street meltdown"

The same Wall Street meltdown that was predicted for over ten years and could be laid at the feet of misregulation of the housing market by the US government? That meltdown?

Or is it the coming meltdown in capitalization and inflation...ALSO brought about by misregulation by the US government.

Or possibly the economic meltdown that is coming when the value of the dollar sinks and China balks when the Fed tries to intervene and rates start to go Jimmy Carter on us.

Let's get our meltdowns straight...then send us the bill...dammit...I want an itemized bill!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu May 28, 06:00:00 PM:

Suppose all that wealth just like...fled the country instead?

The pre-Thatcher labor govt tried that in England with a top marginal rate of over 100% and all that resulted was money fleeing the country.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri May 29, 12:12:00 AM:

This reveals a childlike concept of money, as if, if we just took all that money and spread it around, everyone would have more stuff. But, if that were the case, we could just print up a bunch and instantly make everyone a billionaire, with yachts and mansions and serving staff and all the trimmings. Except of course, all the serving staff would be billionaires, too, so there wouldn't be any. And, there wouldn't be anyone to make all those yachts and mansions and so forth, either.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Fri May 29, 01:29:00 AM:

" But, if that were the case, we could just print up a bunch and instantly make everyone a billionaire"

They're going to do that too.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat May 30, 02:06:00 AM:

Just when you think insanity has peaked it rises.

The Constitution does not authorize a wealth tax. The sixteenth amendment does allow the income tax.

But I don't think the Constitution matters now.

These huge amounts of personal wealth are mostly through ownership of stocks and securities.

So a far simpler plan would be to just seize corporations and beggar the stockholders and creditors.

Heard of anything like that?

Chavez? Did someone say Chavez?


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