Looking Through the Overton Window

The “Overton Window” is the range of ideas which are acceptable in public discourse.  They are mainstream enough that a politician could espouse them and not immediately blow up their career.
There is little doubt that Bernie Sanders moved that window significantly to the left.  Nobody at all was talking about raising the minimum wage before him.  Now, it’s happening.  Bit by bit, a city here, a state or a company there.  And it always gets widespread support, because now it’s within the Overton window.  Before Bernie, few politicians would have suggested raising any taxes at all, but now, the idea of significantly raising taxes on the rich is popular.  Gay rights was once outside of the Overton window.  Now it’s squarely within it.  Ditto marijuana.
Times have changed and that’s a good thing.  But there is, of course, a side effect of the Overton Window.  When it moves, and some radical ideas become mainstream, new radical ideas will crop up to take their place.  You can always go further to the  left.  You can always go further to the right.  To assume differently is to assume limitations on the human imagination, and that would be an unwarranted assumption.
So, now that we can talk freely about raising the minimum wage, and Universal Health Care, some people are starting to talk about a UBI (universal basic wage…basically, just give everybody a lot of money) and a cap on wealth accumulation.
That idea backfired on George McGovern badly, but maybe it’s time it was revisited.  First of all, if you have a 70%, 90%, or even 100% tax on people who are making above x income, it’s not punitive.  In fact, it’s really very easy to avoid.  The person who is making such a huge amount of money that they could be in that tax bracket just has to re-invest some of that money before tax time – maybe hire a construction crew and flip a few -or a few hundred – houses; maybe open up a new plant or hire some people; maybe drop a shitload of money on advertising; or maybe donate a bunch to some university which is coincidentally doing research which could benefit your firm in future.  In any event, you will continue to make money hand over fist, and the economy will keep chugging along.
One of the big problems of trickle down economic has always been that it lacked a mechanism to encourage that money to start trickling down.  A 100% tax would have that money trickling down like Niagara Falls.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs' Archive

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s