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Tax Cuts for “the Rich” Are Taxing Everybody

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As soon as it was revealed, the Trump administration’s framework for tax reform was instantly attacked by Charles Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and friends, trying to bludgeon it to death with assertions that it was just “tax cuts for the rich.” A letter from Senate Democrats said “Tax reform cannot be a cover story for delivering tax cuts to the wealthiest. We will not support any tax reform plan that includes tax cuts for the top one percent.”

Such attacks, which focused primarily on proposed reductions in corporate tax burdens, were premature, in that there were too few crucial details provided for thorough analysis. But the criticisms revealed a focus on the politics of envy rather than joint benefits to society, and reliance on assumptions that, if aligned with recent theoretical and empirical work, would undo their conclusions.

“Tax cuts for the rich,” along with cousins like “trickle down,” “voodoo” and even “déjà voodoo” economics, misdirect attention away from how voluntary market arrangements benefit all. They erroneously presume that taxing high-income earners less benefits only those high earners. This idea is reinforced by a mistaken zero-sum view that more income for some must reduce others’ incomes.

Voluntary Exchange Benefits Everyone

When people, however rich or poor, get richer through voluntary arrangements, they do not hurt

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