Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on the Harry Reid's Millionaire Surcharge


Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid's plan to use a millionaire surcharge to fund President Obama's jobs bill went down to defeat in the Senate Tuesday night. But that doesn't mean that Democrats are going to abandon their soak-the-super-rich rhetoric going forward, notes Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia in her latest column at The Daily. If anything, they will drag the country through a new era of class warfare.

The Reid plan would have left everyone else's taxes essentially untouched. But super-rich people faced an additional 5.6 percent tax on every dollar of their unadjusted gross income beyond a million, pumping $450 billion into Uncle Sam's pocket over 10 years. Obama at least felt the need to soft-pedal the soak-the-rich aspects of his plan by trying to spread the tax burden as widely as politically possible. Reid experienced no such compunctions.

 She notes:

Separating the rich from the poor always involves some arbitrariness. But the Reid tax schema completely dispensed with ordinary understanding, classifying folks earning $999,999 among the middle class subject to ordinary tax treatment while labeling super-rich those earning $1 more…

[M]ost Americans expect to move several quintiles up the economic ladder during their lifetimes. Only the rarefied top seems out of reach. Placing people who occupy that spot into a separate political class is the only class-warfare strategy that won't generate widespread opposition.

Read the whole thing here.