07 August 2012

What Really Matters to Our Economy (and it isn't a few points on the marginal tax rate)

It seems to highlight the poverty of the economic debate in this country that the most frequent and passionate argument about how to "fix" the economy revolves around the question of whether the marginal tax rate on income over $250,000 should be raised by 3%.

If the tax rate raises that slightly on that little income, it will not eliminate or even seriously reduce the deficit. Nor will it discourage the rich from being rich. It doesn't matter which way the coin flips on this issue, the economy will be little changed.

I don't often do a plug for my book The Fourth Economy here, but perhaps I should. If I'm right that we're moving from an information to entrepreneurial economy, there are a host of policies (many of them corporate policies and not policies that would emanate from congress or state capitals) that would make a huge difference in the level of GDP growth, per capita income growth, and job growth. This marginal tax rate? It might make some difference in deficit levels but it'll make little difference either way on these other, more important measures.

It's time to talk about real issues, not symbolic ones. What are we doing to help more citizens and employees to be more entrepreneurial? There is no other question that would have more impact on the economic measures that matter.

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