Rich envy

Robin Hanson posts this insightful observation based on Scott Adams's suggestions on what minor vanity perks could be given to the rich as a reward, and motivation, for paying more taxes:
Why do we tax the rich? If it is just because the rich have lots of money, and we need more money, then we should be pretty eager to take up something like Scott’s suggestions. Such policies could help us get lots more money at a relatively low cost to ourselves. But if we tax the rich more to lower the status of the rich, so they don’t loom as high above us, we are more likely to dislike Scott’s suggestions. Yes such policies lower the income status of the rich, but they might more than compensate via other very visible status markers.
Societies don't tax the rich because of fairness, or because of the economy. By far the main reason so many people are in favor of "progressive" taxation appears to be envy.

Not money envy, but status envy.


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