Robert Reich, in the course of his "Tax the wealthy, keep everyone healthy" piece for Salon.com, addresses the myth that OMG if we tax the people who prop up our economy they’re going to go Galt on us eeeeeeek!

According to the most recent data (for 2007), the best-off 1 percent of American households take home about 20 percent of total income — the highest percentage since 1928. Yes, I know: Critics will charge that these are the very people who invest, innovate, and hire, and thereby keep the economy going. So raising their taxes will burden the economy and thereby hurt everyone, including those who are supposed to be helped.

But there’s no reason to suppose that taking a tiny sliver of the incomes of the top 1 percent will reduce all that much of their ardor to invest, innovate, and hire in the future. Yet if this tiny sliver means affordable healthcare for a far larger number of Americans, who will be able to get regular checkups and thereby stay healthy and productive, the positive effect on the American economy is likely to be far greater.

I just want to add three points to this:

1. I remember when Reagan pushed his tax cuts for the rich of America by saying that it would make them invest in their companies. What it actually did was give them the liquid capital they needed to make the first big investments in building all those factories overseas, where they could get away with using slave or near-slave labor in wretched conditions while screwing over their American workforces.

2. One reason the rich and their press buddies are screaming as loudly as they can against Reich’s and the House Democrats’ tax-the-wealthy-keep-us-all-healthy plan is because they know full well that the public likes the idea better than just about any other, as Nate Silver showed recently.

3. The rich may like putting their factories in low-tax, slave-wage places (both in and outside of the US), but when it comes to places where they themselves actually live and work, guess what? They choose places like New York, the Hamptons, and other high-tax, high-wage locales — unless they’re so rich that they can afford to set up heavily-fortified compounds to keep out the locals.

Phoenix Woman

Phoenix Woman

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