Looking at the deficit commission’s tax plans

By Felix Salmon
November 12, 2010
silly headline attempting to sum up the effects of the deficit commissions tax proposals.

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The WSJ does none of its readers any favors with its silly headline attempting to sum up the effects of the deficit commissions tax proposals. “Top Earners May Face Big Hit”, it says—which would surely be more accurate if the “May” was replaced with “Won’t”.

The piece begins:

A presidential panel’s draft overhaul of the tax system could hit higher earners hard, largely by wiping out deductions and investment breaks that tend to especially benefit those who make enough money to itemize their taxes.

For one thing, the draft is coming from the panel chairmen, not from the panel itself. And more generally, while it’s true that most people who itemize their taxes are high earners, it doesn’t follow that most high earners itemize their taxes, or get a huge benefit from doing so. Some are better off with the standard deduction, especially if they don’t have a mortgage; others are subject to the phaseout rule, and others still get hit by the alternative minimum tax.

On top of that, the chairmen aren’t really suggesting that all these “tax expenditures,” as they’re known, actually be wiped out. They’re actually suggesting something quite reasonable: that you start with a very simple tax rate, and then, if you find a tax expenditure you really believe in—the earned income tax credit, say—you pay for it by raising some or all of those basic tax rates.

That’s a great way of making the cost of these deductions explicit: you want generous mortgage-interest tax relief? OK, but your income tax is going up a penny.

But putting that to one side, the big question is whether the higher tax burden from the loss of deductions would wipe out the tax savings from lower income tax. The WSJ seems sure that it would:

Deductions and investment breaks… increase after-tax income for the top 20% of earners… by more than 10%…

Higher earners could stand to recoup some of that loss through several other proposed changes, notably lower marginal income-tax rates. The plan… would cap the top tax rate as low as 23%, down from the current top rates of 33% and 35%.

Really? High earners would only recoup some of that loss? If you’re currently paying income tax of 35%, that means your after-tax income before deductions is 65 cents on the dollar. If that’s raised by 10%, it becomes 71.5 cents on the dollar. On the other hand, if you simply pay income tax of 23%, your after-tax income is significantly higher, at 77 cents on the dollar.

Paul Krugman, for one, is convinced that the rich are going to be winners, not losers, here:

What the co-chairmen are proposing is a mixture of tax cuts and tax increases — tax cuts for the wealthy, tax increases for the middle class. They suggest eliminating tax breaks that, whatever you think of them, matter a lot to middle-class Americans — the deductibility of health benefits and mortgage interest — and using much of the revenue gained thereby, not to reduce the deficit, but to allow sharp reductions in both the top marginal tax rate and in the corporate tax rate.

It will take time to crunch the numbers here, but this proposal clearly represents a major transfer of income upward, from the middle class to a small minority of wealthy Americans.

In fact the two aren’t completely contradictory; it’s just that what the WSJ considers “Top Earners” have a large overlap with what Krugman considers “the middle class.” (Think people earning between about $120,000 and $350,000 per year.)

And Krugman isn’t giving the whole picture either. One of the best parts of the chairmen’s plan is the way in which it raises the tax rate on capital gains and dividends so that they’re simply treated as ordinary income. The very wealthy, who often live off capital rather than labor, would definitely be hit hard by that move.

The WSJ does have one fact on its side when it sees taxes going up rather than down on the rich: “the draft proposal recommends overall that taxes go up by $751 billion by 2020,” it says. But that’s a cumulative figure, not an annual figure. Overall, taxes would be unchanged in 2012, go up on a net basis by a mere $20 billion in 2013, and rise as far as $160 billion in 2020. That’s substantially less than the $241 billion the chairmen want to cut in discretionary spending this year: their plan concentrates much more on spending cuts than it does on higher taxes to achieve deficit reduction.

The fact is that a net increase of $160 billion in 2020 is so small, compared to the overall tax base, and so far away in time, that it’s impossible to tell with any certainty at all who would be the winners and who would be the losers. Some taxes will go down, some deductions will go away, and other taxes will go up: it’s a complicated plan and the effect on various income strata is likely to depend enormously on how much any given taxpayer currently itemizes, and how much tax they currently pay on capital gains and dividends.

And the big picture is that the chairmen do not propose to reduce the deficit by raising taxes: indeed, they propose a hard cap on how much the government can get in tax revenue. This is a cost-cutting proposal, rather than a tax-hiking one. It also has zero chance of ever making it into law. But as an idea of where some kind of hypothetical bipartisan consensus might exist, the message is clear: no one’s interested in innovative new taxes, least of all a carbon tax. If the deficit’s going to come down, the technocratic elite wants to see that happen from spending cuts instead.

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Comments
23 comments so far

About the only thing about this episode worth a second thought is how badly it speaks of the Obama administration. I had been reserving judgment on its purely administrative acumen, but I think this puts a nail in the coffin. Ugly.

Posted by wcw | Report as abusive

You have got to be the most consistently wrong blogger out there, but you are a fun read, so I keep returning. On what planet are the rich better off with the standard deduction? Not this one. Good luck finding a high income earning that does not use itemized deductions!

http://okpolicy.org/blog/taxes/limiting- itemized-deductions-would-improve-the-fa irness-and-adequacy-of-the-state-income- tax/
“seven out of every eight households with income over $100,000 itemized their deductions, and this population – just 8 percent of all Oklahoma households – accounted for a full 47 percent of the $10.6 billion in total itemized deductions claimed in 2007.”

Posted by DanHess | Report as abusive

While I totally disagree with DanHess about you being CONSISTENTLY wrong I must agree with him in this one instance. The Wallstreet Journal headline was entirely correct… “Top Earners May Face Big Hit”… if you want to change the headline to make it more accurate change may to WILL not Won’t.

You zeroed in on perhaps the most radical change… dividends will be taxed at ordinary rates… this is a 100% increase in that tax rate. I would say a doubling of taxation is a big hit.

In a best case scenerio we would heavily tax things that are bad (think sin taxes) and lightly tax (or better yet not tax) things that are good. (like earned income, and savings.)

I don’t know how to effect that change but it would be nice to see a steep national sales tax coupled with complete exemption of earned income up to the 100,000 threshold. That would eliminate the need to file for about two thirds of the nation. It would however hurt the poor and the working poor who currently pay no federal income taxes as a group.

I would urge Felix and anyone else interested in how our goverment collects monies to visit http://www.taxpolicycenter.org

The tax policy center is a joint effort of a left leaning think tank (urban institute) and a right leaning think tank (Brookings.)

Posted by y2kurtus | Report as abusive

I like the increase in the dividend income tax… if this was coupled with an increase in income tax for top earners then this would be a very pro-growth move. Businesses would have incentive to retain their earnings instead of increasing CEO pay or doling out dividends and reinvesting in their companies is how you get jobs.

What worries me though is the tandem of increasing capital gains tax while at the same time removing the tax credit of interest on mortgage payments. These two items coupled together could really cripple the housing market even more and result in an even BIGGER spike in foreclosures. What are the incentives to buy a house if you can’t write off the interest and at the same time the capital gains are taxed at a higher rate? Renting is going to make a huge comeback.

As a conversation starter, the deficit commission did good. But as anything more than a starting point, this is no good. It deprioritizes senior citizens’ well being at the expense of the wealthy. I like reducing the corporate tax, but I question whether the income tax for the wealthy needs to be lowered at all let alone to this extent. The wealthy should get theirs by increasing the size of the pie, not by increasing their slice.

Posted by Porkbellies37 | Report as abusive

In the last paragraph I meant “at the benefit of the wealthy.”

Posted by Porkbellies37 | Report as abusive

Everybody is acting like COMPLETE fools, and that goes double for the Wall Street Journal.

We are running a TRILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT. There is no way to REDUCE that deficit without taking more money from some people and giving less to others. This plan does remarkably well at spreading the pain, which is why you hear such universal outcry. But the alternative is to run this country into the ground by the end of the decade. Would you rather have a smaller piece of a large apple pie or the lions share of the midden? From the sound of it, most Americans prefer the latter.

Want me to tell you how senior citizens will be faring in ten years if we DON’T fix the system? I’m still reasonably young and have both skills and substantial savings. One way or another, I’ll be okay. But those who have retired are at the mercy of the stability of the financial system (investment returns) and the federal government (broad economic health). Go ahead, whine about how “senior citizens are being deprioritized”. If you can’t vote for this, or for something very similar to this, then senior citizens will suffer far worse than “deprioritization”. They will be outright SCREWED.

The Boston Globe led today with the headline, “Massachusetts stands to lose $200M”. Earmarks. More pigs at the trough, right next to the AARP and the fat-cat hedge fund managers who can’t BEAR to part with a single penny.

The draft proposal surely isn’t perfect, but it goes a long way towards:
(1) Simplifying the system and expanding the tax base.

(2) Establishing a system that is significantly more progressive than what we have now.

(3) Reducing the risk that we’ll follow Greece in ten years. (Maybe Citigroup and AIG will bail us out? Keep dreaming!)

Posted by TFF | Report as abusive

Right on TFF.

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive

TFF… I hope no one is arguing for the status quo. You’re right about the need to spread the pain… I think where we may disagree is does this spread the pain. And I think that is ultimately the question of the WSJ article and this blog though their assessments of how this is balanced are different.

Posted by Porkbellies37 | Report as abusive

I’m with TFF too. I want to see much more about this plan before it gets relegated to the dung heap of history.

Posted by LadyGodiva | Report as abusive

It is completely insane that we continue to have a tax system that is based entirely on taxing production. Assuming that you buy into the argument that axes affect behavior then our policy of taxing work (income) is self defeating. We should create a consumption tax that simply adds a percent (.75%, 3% I don’t know the amount required) to every transaction. Want to buy a soda, taxed. Want to buy a new car, taxed. Want to buy a new house, taxed. Want to buy lumber to build a new house, taxed. Basically require all legal businesses to collect and remit a percentage of their sales each month or quarter. There would be NO exemptions for any kind of preferred purchasing. No exemption for materials used to produce a final good. If I buy something wholesale to resell at a markup that purchase is taxed like everything else. If I need to purchase supplies for my business those are taxed. At the end of each year when congress writes the budget the rate gets set for that year so that the budget balances (perhaps with a cushion). If it is short this year, up the rate for next year, if it is over, pay down the debt or lower the rate. If you want to add a new program the cost will be added onto the rate. Eliminate a program, reduce the rate by that amount.

This would have the added benefit of bringing much of the underground economy into the tax system. Currently people who make money under the table get to keep it all and not pay taxes. This system would make it so that when they spent their money in the real economy they would pay into the system and we would get our share in taxes.

Posted by mknoll1 | Report as abusive

The good thing about the consumption tax is it would shift the tax burden from being primarily on American companies and spread it more evenly. The bad thing (which may be remedied) is it shifts the burden almost purely onto the lower and middle classes who spend the higher percentage of their disposable income.

Personally… and I know this may be unpopular, but I don’t think the purpose of taxes should necessarily be to maximize revenue. The gov’s job is to promote and protect the prosperity and well being of its citizens. If maximizing tax revenue compromises the well being of citizens, you don’t try to maximize it. Also… there is some social engineering. If you can guide the capital flow of taxes to create jobs, grow industries and spur innovation… or to protect the nation’s security… that is a valid use to me.

Posted by Porkbellies37 | Report as abusive

Porkbellies, I want to see some more details as well. I will be unhappy if this proposal ultimately *reduces* the tax burden on the ultra-wealthy. But I don’t think it will — the elimination of the dividend/cap-gains special treatment takes care of that. Moreover, limits on the mortgage interest deduction and an expansion of the tax base for Social Security (presently capped around $100k) claws back any benefit that the upper-middle-class (Todd Henderson?) would gain from a reduced maximum tax rate. A simpler system and a fairer one, I believe.

Something definitely needs to change in our taxation of corporations. Evidence over the last decade, through a cycle of boom and bust, demonstrates that international corporations do not see any profit in investing in the US. They have been investing overseas and leaving their profits off-shore. There are several factors in play, but a 35% corporate tax rate is certainly a huge disincentive. I’m no fan of corporate giveaways, but we can’t force them to invest in the US. We need to establish a system where that is in their best interests.

And yes, a consumption tax (perhaps a VAT) makes a lot of sense and goes a long way towards reducing the perverse incentives that our present system creates.

Posted by TFF | Report as abusive

How come the when the big tax expenditures are listed, they always leave off making state income taxes deductible on your federal income taxes? That one has always annoyed me the most; there is no reason for the feds to subsidize high state income taxes.

Posted by MattJ | Report as abusive

What happened to all the discussion of a flat tax? It would be interesting to see someone with the access to data to look at Dept of Revenue filings and evaluate the calculation of a 5%, 10% flat tax on GROSS income, no dissemination of capital gains or earned income. No deductions, including health care and mortgage interest. Assume the same for corporations as well.

The problem of course would be that thousands if not millions of tax accountants and lawyers would be unemployed as well, but wouldn’t it be great to know exactly what tax you are going to pay all the time?

On a similar vein, let’s let the states manage sales tax. If a flat tax isn’t enough for the Feds, then giving them sales tax power certainly isn’t going to help. States would then be on even footing on how they want to manage growth, either by taxing their citizens to death or managing growth.

Posted by Libertarian1976 | Report as abusive

Libertarian, federal revenues need to come in between 15% and 21% of GDP based on our present budgetary expectations. Only way to get below that range would be massive cuts in the entitlement programs (especially Social Security and Medicare).

Some slick charts here:
http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/feder al_revenue

The income tax is roughly 50% of the total (believe this combines personal and corporate income taxes), while social insurance taxes (mostly Social Security and Medicare) make up another 40%. The other revenue sources are comparatively minor.

You could replace the income tax with a 10% flat tax on gross income, however that would gut the EITC — a way of reducing poverty for the “working poor”. A more likely proposal (which has been suggested in the past) is a 15% flat tax with a substantial initial exemption so that households below the median pay nothing.

See Table #5:
http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/sho w/250.html

Households below the median account for barely more than 10% of the AGI (and that doesn’t even count corporate profits). Exempting them isn’t costly and makes the system somewhat more fair.

I would still prefer a tax on CONSUMPTION rather than a tax on INCOME, however. This would obviate the need for tax-deferred college and retirement accounts because all tax would be deferred until it is used. A VAT is easy to administrate, harder to dodge with under-the-table transactions, and offers fewer loopholes.

And no, accountants aren’t going out of business regardless of the system… Calculating the AGI is most of the work, especially for people with complex situations.

Posted by TFF | Report as abusive

DanHess,

You said “Good luck finding a high income earning [sic] that does not use itemized deductions!”.

But you also quoted from an article that said “seven out of every eight households with income over $100,000 itemized their deductions”.

If by “high income” persons, you are talking about the same people described in the article, then fully 1/8 of such houeseholds – 12.5% – do NOT itemize. How much “luck” do you think is required to find a member of a minority that comprises double digits of the population (of “high income” earners)?

Posted by pete_b | Report as abusive

The discussion of taxes and government in this country has become pretty insane in the last couple of decades. It seems to me that class warfare has been quite real and that the WSJ, while providing useful information, is also one of the mouthpieces of the upper class financial mafia in this country. Wall Street controls gov’t to such an extent that it used hard earned taxpayer money to bail out and guarantee $12 trillion or lost by speculators who produce, as we’ve seen, virtually nothing real, and who engaged in systematic fraud very akin to Bernie Madoff. I’ve been a financial advisor for many years and had a clear enough, blow by blow view of Wall Street fraud to see the financial crisis pump and dump coming and save most clients from losses. I’ve followed every detail of this on-going crime for years, starting with Ronald Reagan’s “S&L deregulation” inside job 20 years ago that also cost taxpayers hundreds of billions.

And, of course, is there really any question who’s winning the class war, because they’ve made successfully fools of the American electorate? The notion that the richest Americans, who even now are back-ordering $800,000 watches in Beverly Hills – should not pay much, much more taxes on a percentage basis than the middle class and that the government should be done away with instead of replacing corrupt liberals and conservatives alike and taking back its role of representing the overwhelming majority of common people against the power elite is absurd beyond belief. When gov’t becomes an instrument of the rich, it’s fascism, and that appears where we are headed if tea partiers in Tennessee actually believe they should advocate fewer gov’t programs and tax cuts for the mega wealthy.

Posted by kelvinator | Report as abusive

Pete_b, the most significant Schedule A deductions are tied to home ownership. If you rent then you don’t get a mortgage-interest deduction and you don’t get a property tax deduction. State income taxes plus charitable contributions could conceivably top the standard deduction, but in many cases (especially for incomes in the $100k-$150k range) they do not. Doesn’t take much “luck” to figure this out, I agree. Simply familiarity with the tax code.

Kelvinator, if you combine Social Security and income taxes, our tax system is only progressive at the very bottom. Once a household passes the median, its combined taxation on wage income holds pretty steady between 40% and 50%.

Even while in the 15% income tax bracket, individuals pay FICA tax (another 15% if you count the employer portion) and frequently find themselves in a “tax credit phaseout” window (adding another 5% or more). Add state income tax and you reach that magic 40%.

By the time the income tax bracket passes 25%, Social Security contributions are capped and thus the total marginal tax rate drops back a bit.

That said, I don’t think it is healthy to push marginal tax rates over 50% on *anybody*. I’ve already chosen to largely withdraw from the labor market because it doesn’t pay to work. (I pick my hours and work for a charitable organization at a below-market salary.) Surely there are others in a similar situation?

But is it “class warfare”? Or “generational warfare”? The Baby Boomers pawned the future to support their profligate lifestyles and now are VERY CONCERNED that Social Security and Medicare might be “deprioritized”. Read “The Coming Generational Storm” by Kotlikoff for an interesting perspective.

Posted by TFF | Report as abusive

TFF – I agree that “class warfare” is overly simplistic, but it’s a good summary what’s been going on. The point of view of the richest in this country has, by design, had powerful influence on the American narrative since 1980, and that narrative declared war against social institutions that have supported ordinary people since their lives were shattered in the depression. It’s true, Baby Boomers did indeed pawn the future to support their profligate lifestyles. They were a big part of the electorate that bought into the overarching idiocy and hypocrisy of Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” baloney: Americans can all have endlessly grand lifestyles, don’t need to conserve energy, can cut government, kill gov’t regulation, kill unions and somehow prosperity for all will be funded by the ingenious natural machinations of the free market. Anyone paying attention is now seeing how that’s worked out; the free market is fine, but the thievery set loose by the lie that money and unregulated free markets should be our religion has been demonstrated over and over again. In fact, Reagan, while cutting regulations, greatly expanded taxes, government and debt. The unsustainable boom of prosperity since his term was driven by the largest public and private debt bubble – biggest credit card overdraft – in history over the last 40 years – the debt graphs, which can easily found online, are mind boggling. Debt growth is just now starting to fall out of the vertical exponential blow off phase. It’s been the grandaddy of Madoff ponzi schemes. That’s why the Fed as of Friday is now printing out of thin air every dollar the gov’t is borrowing – and they likely won’t be able to stop, regardless of what they say. The massive bubble is now popping, and I think the ultimate impact on US society is going to be well beyond what most people imagine – certainly much more than a generational storm.

I admire people I’ve seen interviewed in Sweden who are happy to pay high tax rates because they realize it creates a society that is concerned about and supports the lives of all of its people. America seems to have become a society of small minded, selfish people believing in a Ronald Reagan myth that sounds good, but in fact is untrue, brutal and immoral – whose hospitals put sick people without insurance on the street, and which doesn’t retrain and employ people without a job, but leaves them to wander the streets as well. The US is the only advanced country without public health insurance – amazing – and look at the utter load of c**p that the rich have somehow successfully fed to the American electorate about why the US should not have health insurance for all – unbelievable – when delivering good quality public health care has been successful and much more cost efficient in every other developed country than the private system here. It’s been a well funded war, fought and won by the insurance companies, the Koch brothers and many others.

On taxes and spending, yes, hard decisions need to be made now. The question is, what values will guide the decisions? A society in which the poor and middle class admire and believe rich bandits instead of fighting for their own interests and to uphold the common good is at risk of evolving toward an anarchy that benefits no one.

Posted by kelvinator | Report as abusive

@kelvinator –

Those are great lines. The problem is, most of the developed world outside of America is in genuine decline. Demographic decline, from which I don’t see an escape on the horizon.

I am not sure why it is, but it seems a nanny state sucks some kind of vitality out of a country on a very deep level. I am 50% Austrian and my wife is Japanese. To see these great nations and so many others in deep decline makes me sick to my stomach but the future will be much dimmer as a result. If you see Nigeria or Bangladesh neatly filling the gap, you are more optimistic than me.

Most people deep down want to have the dignity of taking care of themselves. They are proud of that and don’t want to be treated like children.

No, Americans aren’t fools being manipulated by rich overseers. Your opinion of Americans does not seem to be very high.

Yes, medicine is way too expensive in America, but see how competition is blocked at every turn. There is no free market in medicine. The AMA has long been a cartel limiting supply. Insurance regulation prevents competition across state lines. There is no clarity of pricing and even if there were people wouldn’t care because they have no skin in the game.

Posted by DanHess | Report as abusive

The demographic issue is huge. That is what took down Japan’s economy (not a failure in education or work ethic!). Europe faces it next, and China isn’t far behind (though so much of their population lives in poverty so it might play out differently there). The US is actually the youngest of the big economies, if only slightly. (Thank those teen mothers and Mexican immigrants both legal and otherwise who make up a significant portion of our birth rate these days.)

As a society, we’ve definitely strayed too far towards narcissism. Perhaps as a reaction to the Vietnam War and Watergate? People lost a lot of trust in government during that decade. The problems are not insurmountable, but we need to work together to “spread the pain”. The pain is inevitable, and grows the longer we wait. But we cannot realistically place the burden entirely on one segment of society.

Posted by TFF | Report as abusive

Dan Hess, the free market doesn’t work well for health care. Health care is not a commodity like cars or houses or apples.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/arch ive/2009/07/an-interview-with-kenneth-ar row-part-two/22279/

Posted by mattski | Report as abusive

Yes, Dan, like mattski, I can’t agree with your view – I consider it part of the “free markets as religion” myth – that if we could only have a truly free market in health care in the US, costs would go down and the benefits would flow to all. In this view, it’s the gov’t regulation that’s the problem, rather than, for example, the immoral behavior of insurance companies which mutually agree to enact laws prohibiting int’l purchase of drugs, not to insure people who are sick and find ways not to pay insured people with valid claims. Anyone who looks at capitalism with clear eyes historically sees that corporations have always represented a pure profit motive only, and aren’t a good way to structurally embody humane values – they never have been. Structurally, by definition, they are capital looking for returns with very limited liability (responsibility) – organizations looting for booty based on projections of return on capital, restrained only by the particular morality of the people who happen to be in charge (until they’re fired for not generating enough profit) and by strong laws defending the common good – eg don’t poison the rivers, etc. For as long as capitalism survives in its current money-as-religion form, which I think may be shorter than most imagine, it will always be finding a balance between the free market ethic and “the nanny state” as you say. Without something like the nanny state, including, for example, unemployment insurance and social security in the US, capitalism might well already have been destroyed here – the people wouldn’t tolerate the uncaring brutality of its “dark side”. It might have been destroyed in the depression if FDR didn’t enact the very “nanny state” provisions that are now steadily being disassembled. Without doubt, I agree an overly intrusive state has a dark side too. But truly free and unregulated, intense concentrations of money and power build and corrupt the operation of the both gov’t and the “free” market itself and become monopolies under any form of gov’t. As Adam Smith himself said, paradoxically, monopolies distort and destroy the beneficial operation of free market capitalism. High prices don’t come from laws made by a gov’t that is “of, by and for the people” – they favor the businesses that charge the prices and pay politicians to have the laws enacted.

Anyway, the real problem is global overpopulation and diminishing resources. Seems like the generational issues will end up being an important side story, but the population/resource issues will likely begin to become more and more disruptive lead story before too long I agree with you, Dan, that the developed countries are in decline, but I don’t see why you don’t include the US in that pack of decliners – although our demographics are a little better. Yee gods! As of this week, the US is now printing 100% of the money it borrows out of thin air. Last week, Richard Fisher, head of the Dallas Fed, told us this kind of financial auto-erotic fraud has historically destroyed countries economies. The problem is not just funding gov’t deficits due to massive overspending on “nanny state” programs. It’s that capitalism actually needs nanny state programs to be acceptable to people – contrary to the popular myth, the free market alone doesn’t come close to supporting a good life for the vast majority of humans, particularly in a world of limited resources and growth. It’s brutal, as we’re all in the process of finding out, as gov’ts make a massive effort to blunt the impact with monetary interventions and nanny programs. The only solution is really going to be for the great citizens (geniuses, entrepreneurs and pirates) who have amassed great wealth to be forced to share their monopoly on the Earth’s wealth and resources more broadly while everyone collaborates to plan a sustainable future, or for everyone to hunker in their bunkers and prepare for anarchy. Based on current politics and the in vogue propaganda that somehow brutally capitalist free markets are uncorrupt and will take us to a humane and sustainable future, it’s difficult to be hopeful.

Posted by kelvinator | Report as abusive
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