In a new sign of increasing inequality in the U.S., the richest 1% of Americans in 2006 garnered the highest share of the nation's adjusted gross income for two decades, and possibly the highest since 1929, according to Internal Revenue Service data.This reminds me of one of my favorite references when dealing with strict voodoo-economics Republicans:
Meanwhile, the average tax rate of the wealthiest 1% fell to its lowest level in at least 18 years. The group's share of the tax burden has risen, though not as quickly as its share of income.
I have never felt like a liberal. I have always felt that the positions that made me support the Democrats were just the minimum necessary to address our problems. They felt conservative at their heart - not risky hail mary policies predicated on achieving Utopian bliss for the masses. The old school conservatives that are still Republicans are finally coming around. Conservatives for Obama!
A reader makes the best case I know of for progressive taxation at this present time:
We have seen during the Bush and Reagan eras the negative effects of a more regressive tax policy. The gap between rich and poor widens. The middle class stagnates, while incomes for the top 10% explodes. Crime rates rise, families crack under the strain, whole communities undergo upheaval, the wealthy separate themselves in gated communities, and on and on. If Burkian conservatism is based on a respect for societal traditions and community institutions, one of its greatest adversaries must be unencumbered market forces and the "creative destruction" it unleashes. Have you read your "Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism" lately? I'd say if you want to avoid a future of wholesale class conflict and radical socialism, the smart thing to do would be to keep the gap between the rich and the poor from becoming a chasm.
This is also why Ross and Reihan may be ideologically difficult for me to agree with but are making an important contribution. Conservatism is defined, to my mind, by a respect for practical wisdom, the knowledge of when to abandon certain principles in the face of emergent realities. It is a perfectly conservative worry to follow Aristotle in hoping for a strong middle class as a bulwark for a stable mixed regime. If global economic forces shred that class or drastically exacerbate social and economic inequality so as to threaten the stability of the polity, conservatives should be open to some measure of redistributionism as a palliative. Not as a general principle - but as a temporary pragmatic response to a social danger.