Tax the rich! That's a sentiment that's fairly popular among those of us who are not rich. But, according to this Wall Street Journal (consider the source) article by Robert Frank, it looks like a fair amount of rich people actually wouldn't mind a modest increase in their taxes. In fact, according to the article, a recent Quinnipiac University poll found that nearly two thirds of individuals with annual incomes in excess of $250,000 would support paying higher taxes in an effort to reduce the federal deficit.
This may sound surprising to some, but it is in keeping with a position that I have long held; that in much the same way that freedom is not free, neither is the capitalist system as we know it. A business environment will only thrive if a base of consumers of products and services is maintained. If too much wealth concentrates in too few hands at the expense of consumers, the flow of capital wanes and the machine slows down. The article cites a quote by Garrett Gruener, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, that further illustrates this point:
"What American businesspeople know, and have known since Henry Ford insisted that his employees be able to afford to buy the cars they made, is that a thriving economy doesn't just need investors; it needs people who can buy the goods and services businesses create."
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the point of stimulus spending and progressive taxation; these things are not assaults on capitalism, they are investments in capitalism. One might rightfully note that this represents a redistribution of wealth. But that is the price of maintaining a system that even allows for personal wealth to begin with.