What Would Happen If We Just Took All The Money Away From Our Nation's Billionaires?


Not surprisingly, CNBC has spent the day salivating over Obama’s supposed plan to raise taxes on the middle class.

What did catch our attention, however, was a terrifying statistic about the country’s dramatic wealth erosion cited by Melissa Francis about four minutes into the above quote:

If you took all the money from all the billionaires in the US, and there are 1,000 of them or something, if you took all their money away if wouldn’t be enough to pay off the debt for just next year. Taxing just the rich isn’t gonna work.

But wait! Is it naive of us to wonder when exactly “billionaire” became the only tax bracket incapable of credibly claiming to represent the middle class? There are lots of other rich people we could tax. For instance, say, our nation’s 14,000 or so centimillionaires? Or is a net worth between $100 and $999 million basically the same as “middle-class” to Melissa Francis?

Also, Melissa Francis is just wrong. After last year’s market calamity America actually doesn’t have anywhere near 1,000 billionaires. Nonetheless, the remaining 359 of them control such a staggeringly outsized percentage of America’s wealth that they could very easily pay off the projected $1.8 trillion 2009 budget deficit — and still be very wealthy!

The $2.07 trillion our billionaires collectively control would not, unfortunately, front the entire $3.1 trillion budget — which probably explains why the government is going after their Swiss bank accounts, too.

Unfortunately, we could only do this trick once. The very next year we’d be faced with another staggering budget deficit and we’d have no billionaires left.

Now we realise Melissa Francis was speaking off the cuff, and it is hard to get these things right on live television. So her error is forgiveable. But we thinks someone needs to fact check those fast talkers on CNBC.


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