For the sake of discussion let’s say people making over 1 million a year were taxed at 70 percent. Forget ten million, let’s make it one million. Let’s go full blown ISM (socialism, fascism, communism) and tax all the high earners.
Where would the money go?
Personally, I would like to see free higher education for everyone. How many people would take advantage of it? In all honesty, how many people would get a degree in a useful field and become productive members of society? Too many people have been told to “follow their dreams” and got degrees in fields they will never be able to find gainful employment.
For example, a local teacher has a masters degree in art history. With what she makes as a teacher it would take decades to pay back her student loans. Enter the wealthy grandparents who paid for her education.
Contrast that to a guy I know who went to college on his GI bill and got a degree in diesel mechanics. Straight out of school he went to work for GE making diesel engines for trains and tugboats. Look up EMD Locomotive engines, they put out 3k – 4k horsepower. The tugboats I worked on had those types of engines, He started out making more than twice as much as the teacher, and the teacher had several years of teaching behind her.
Both people spent someone elses money, just one went to where the money was at. In a few years the guy will be making six figures with stock options, while the teacher will be making $34k – $40k a year.
Several years ago I read an article about a lady who was getting either a masters of phd in literature. She had over $100k in student debt, and was only able to find part time work in a museum. I tried finding the article again but can’t.
So if we collect all that money and throw it into the education system, what is going to happen to it? When men came back from WW II and used their GI bill to go to college, a lot of them went into law, engineering, professors, geologist… etc. Those degrees were used to build the interstate highway system, dam projects of the 1960s and 1970s, NASA…. etc.
For the sake of discussion let’s say we dump 50,000 mechanical engineers on the market tomorrow, where are they supposed to go to work? Let’s say 20,000 chemical engineers. Will they go to other countries to find work, kinda like what happened when the USSR fell?
China has some of the largest construction projects the world has ever seen, such as the Three gorges Dam. While at the same time our bridges and roads are falling apart.
Rather than sending people to college for free, why not use the money to rebuild our infrastructure? For that we do not need college educated people. However, we already pay taxes on every gallon of gasoline sold in the United States. Where is that money going? If we wanted to help end income inequality, why not teach people a skill through construction projects and on the job training? We could probably spend decades rebuilding our highways and bridges.
A lot of the places that built sections for bridges during the interstate highway system are no longer around. First we would have to rebuild the steel mills, then ship the steel, build the bridge sections… etc. We are talking decades of work.
For some reason people think throwing money into the education system would fix everything? Not when people would get degrees in art history when we need workers to help build our railroads, bridges, pipelines, and highways.