Ron Howard and Jane Lynch on MSNBC: Tax Us More!

Posted: Sep 22, 2011 10:15 AM

Bulletin -- More ultra-rich liberals publicly demand to pay higher taxes (via News Busters): 

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: Go for it, champs.  Nothing's stopping you.  Look, I really like Ron Howard as an actor, director, and voiceover man -- but his policy arguments were pretty weak here.  Jane Lynch, who seemed somewhat sandbagged by the question, at least had the good sense to qualify her refreshingly candid answer by admitting that she's unfamiliar with "the intricacies" of the debate.  (If she knew the real number's she'd realize it's not even close to "as simple as that").  Howard, though, cited the gangbusters economic growth back in the good old days of yesteryear when the top income earners were taxed at 90 percent.  He added that paying higher taxes to "help the country grow" would be just swell in his book.  A few points:

(1) When individuals are taxed at criminally-high rates, they find creative ways to evade wealth confiscation.   The effective rates were much lower.  Former Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon stated this case clearly:

"The history of taxation shows that taxes which are inherently excessive are not paid. The high rates inevitably put pressure upon the taxpayer to withdraw his capital from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities or to find other lawful methods of avoiding the realization of taxable income."

(2) When marginal tax rates have been lowered on "the rich," revenues have historically gone up.  Dan Mitchell has a useful write-up of this phenomenon HERE.  Byron York offers a more contemporary example by examining federal revenues in the years following the 2003 Bush tax cuts.

(3) Sorry, Ron, but more tax revenue doesn't "help the country grow," or even control the deficit.  It helps government spending grow, as these poor saps discovered after they voluntarily paid higher taxes into a debt-reduction fund they later found out was nothing of the sort.  The president's current deficit reduction plan employs a barrage of phony "cuts" and temporary tax relief, but is funded almost entirely through permanent tax increases.  Obama simultaneously calls for half-a-trillion in new spending on clones of programs that have already failed.  If that is Ron Howard's idea of how to generate a Happy Days national boom, he's more than welcome to pour more of his hard-earned cash down the federal black hole.  But he shouldn't foist his misplaced big government piety onto the rest of us.