An income tax is a far better way to tax the rich than a wealth tax

Cleveland 5 days ago

Jared Bernstein advocates that the United States should start taxing wealth (“No reason the rich should escape taxes as wealth grows," Nov. 29). Since income and wealth are highly correlated, any wealth tax can be converted into an income tax whose burden falls in the same pattern across income/wealth classes.

Here are four reasons to prefer increasing the income tax over creating a wealth tax: (1) We already have a system for collecting income tax; why create another system? (2) Most income is denominated in currency and thus easy to measure. What is the value of a Picasso that hasn’t been sold for decades? (3) Income is harder to hide than wealth. (4) Income fluctuates less than wealth. In the last recession, the stock market lost over half its value. Revenue from a wealth tax would have plummeted when most needed.

Eric Klieber,

Cleveland Heights

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