The One Marshmallow Party

Two years ago I did a post on the famous marshmallow experiment.  At the end I made an offhand comment that the Dems were the “two one marshmallow party.”  A lot of commenters were outraged, and I backed off.  Yes, the GOP is often just as guilty.

But how will the Dems explain this outrage:

President Obama’s budget, to be released next week, will limit how much wealthy individuals – like Mitt Romney – can keep in IRAs and other retirement accounts.

The proposal would save around $9 billion over a decade, a senior administration official said, while also bringing more fairness to the tax code.

The senior administration official said that wealthy taxpayers can currently “accumulate many millions of dollars in these accounts, substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving.”

Under the plan, a taxpayer’s tax-preferred retirement account, like an IRA, could not finance more than $205,000 per year of retirement – or right around $3 million this year.

And please don’t give me any nonsense about “inequality.”  This proposal is bad on both equity and efficiency grounds.  Obama should propose cutbacks in Social Security for those why had high annual wage incomes (like me), not those who saved a high fraction of their income (like me).

I bet they don’t even grandfather in those (like me) who have already put a lot of money into their 401k plans.  We really are becoming a banana republic.  How much longer before the government simply seizes the private pensions, as they did in Argentina?

And why claim this adds “more fairness to the tax code?”  Does Obama actually have any economic advisers who understand the basic principles of public finance?  Is there anyone in the administration who understands why capital income should not be taxed?  If not, maybe Brad DeLong could give them a short course.

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About Scott Sumner 492 Articles

Affiliation: Bentley University

Scott Sumner has taught economics at Bentley University for the past 27 years.

He earned a BA in economics at Wisconsin and a PhD at University of Chicago.

Professor Sumner's current research topics include monetary policy targets and the Great Depression. His areas of interest are macroeconomics, monetary theory and policy, and history of economic thought.

Professor Sumner has published articles in the Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, and the Bulletin of Economic Research.

Visit: TheMoneyIllusion

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