Acknowledgement of Bastille Day, anyone?
Money is important, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Like virtually everything else, money/income has diminishing marginal utility or usefulness. I believe, but am not certain, that the application of the diminishing marginal utility principle is the underpinning for progressive income tax systems. In principle, I agree with that concept.
That being said, I also strongly believe that the acquirer–not the government–should have first dibs on assets legally acquired. Marginal income tax rates of 70% or 80% constitute theft by government, in my opinion.
I believe in the “Rule of 49.” No one’s income, even if it’s a trillion dollars in a year, should ever have a combined marginal income tax rate (federal, state, local) of more than 49%. I don’t know if a similar idea is the reason that state income taxes can be deducted from federal taxable income.
In some countries, the maximum combined marginal income tax rate can be more than 50%. For example, a Canadian citizen living in the province of Nova Scotia can be taxed at 54% on the margin (33% federal tax, 21% provincial tax). It is interesting to me, though, that some countries seem to have adopted the “Rule of 49.” France has a 45% maximum national income tax rate plus a 4% surcharge on “high” incomes. Germany’s de facto highest income tax rate is 47.475%.
Sadly and scarily, people who are resentful and envious of those wealthier than they are and the politicians who stoke and take advantage of those feelings in order to receive votes think marginal tax rates of 70%, 80% or even higher are not only justified, but just. Obviously, I vehemently disagree. Oh, I don’t really think estates should be taxed at all (the income that generated those estates has almost certainly already been taxed, heirs will pay capital gains taxes on assets sold at a profit), but estate tax rates should also never exceed 49%.
In my utopian country, such a policy would be part of the national constitution. I don’t want to bore 99% of readers by outlining my constitutional principles in detail, but this is a topic about which I have thought long and hard. I really do expect the US to dissolve, which will give its successor countries an opportunity to fashion their own constitutions.
OK, today’s car is German and not a power monster. However, in good conscience I could not ignore a car that I think is among the 10 or 20 best-looking cars ever made.
This is, of course, the BMW 507. Designed by Albrecht Goertz, the car was supposed to be BMW’s entry into the US luxury car segment, but wound up almost bankrupting the company. When you tell a car person who doesn’t know otherwise that only 252 507s were produced, you’re likely to get a strong reaction of disbelief.
I think it would be, to borrow Pope’s phrase, breaking a butterfly upon a wheel to write about the 507’s engine or suspension. The car is rolling sculpture. That status forced me to hold my nose and to admit a German automobile into the Hall of Very Good Cars. I know many enthusiasts for whom the 507 is among their five or ten favorite cars ever, an Ultimate Garage car for them, if you will.
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