Saturday, October 12, 2019

We don't need the rich

Rich people have a gazillion dollars hidden away in offshore bank accounts. "Alas!" the progressives wail, "Think of all the good we could do if we could get just the taxes on that money!"

Hold up. We don't have to get the taxes. If there a 10% of a gazillion dollars worth of things that we think are worth doing, we can just "print" that money. If something is worth doing, it's worth printing the money to get it done: people will, you know, do stuff if you give them money to do so.

"But if we print the money, we will cause inflation! Inflation is Really Bad, right?"

Inflation is not the worst thing in the world, but just printing and spending money by itself will not cause inflation. The proximate cause of inflation is not too much money, it's too much money in circulation (and too much money in circulation in the wrong places). As long as the gazillion dollars just sit quietly hidden in these offshore accounts, we can print exactly as much as we would have collected as taxes, and we will have exactly as much or as little inflation as we would if we didn't print it but instead took it from taxes levied on this money. The rich cannot hold the government hostage by hoarding money; money is useful only when it's spent.

"Ah, but if we print the money, and then rich people spend their money, we will have inflation!"

Excellent, grasshopper! Now you're thinking with portals!

The key, then, is to not to find and levy taxes on the hidden money before, but make it so that it won't cause inflation unless the rich reveal the money. It's the difference between trying to break into the bank or just posting a guard outside the door catch withdrawals. The second is a hell of a lot easier than the first.

I mean, if they want to (snicker) act in the public interest (chortle) and voluntarily (snort) repatriate their money... sorry, I can't stop laughing long enough to complete the sentence.

I'm not an expert in tax law, but it seems like it's a lot easier to force the rich to keep hiding their money than it is to find it and tax it.

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