What Would Happen If the One Percent Disappeared?

If the one percent are such a drain on the economy, why not just send them away?

barack obama one percent

The Daily Signal posted a great essay on the nonsense about having government address “income inequality.” Dave Azerrad writes: “Here’s a Way to Slash Inequality: Exile the 1 Percent.”

Potential presidential candidates looking to make a splash should consider the following bold proposal to solve our inequality problem once and for all: exile the top 0.1 percent of income earners. Round up all 136,080 taxpayers who make more than $2.16 million a year and ship ’em off to whatever country will accept them. Presto. Problem solved.

We’d still, of course, have inequality in America. But we’d at least have brought it back to the healthy 1960s’ levels that Paul Krugman and Elizabeth Warren nostalgically pine for. The 0.1 percenters, whose growing incomes have been fueling the rise in inequality over the past several decades, will have vanished overnight.

This proposal will surely strike many as extreme. But drastic times call for drastic measures. President Obama, after all, has called growing inequality “the defining challenge of our time.” Krugman agrees and notes that “the increase in U.S. inequality has no counterpart anywhere else in the advanced world.”

Never mind that, according to surveys, most Americans couldn’t care less about an abstract statistical trend stretching over decades. In a Politico poll in the lead-up to the last election, only 1 percent of voters thought inequality was the most important issue. But, as Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber might say, we should not let “the stupidity of the American voter” get in the way of advancing progressive policies.

Read the rest.

This is one of those wonderful issues of distraction where a political leader keeps you from focusing on real problems—often caused by government—and points you to something ridiculous.

Worse, in this case, it is an issue that government policy itself exacerbates, with sweetheart deals and bailouts that benefit the very people who are supposedly the “evil” ones making “too much money.”

[See also, “Rich Don’t Pay Their Fair Share; They Pay Everyone’s Share.”]

Instead of banishing the one percent, I’d rather simply banish every politician who ever mentions income inequality as an issue with which government needs to be concerned. This is pandering to people’s base envy, and nothing more.