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If it was good enough for the Million Man March...

Always read the fine print. The New Jersey Education Association wants the state to raise taxes on a certain group:

The solution: what the NJEA and nearly 100 other groups calling themselves the Fairness Alliance have dubbed the "millionaire's tax." The tax is designed to infuse about $1 billion into the state budget for education, health care and the arts by raising income taxes on those earning more than a half-million dollars a year.
I guess "People who don't make anywhere close to a million tax" didn't sound quite as promising in focus group testing.


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Comments (6)

Partha Mazumdar:

I think it's safe to say that every person who earns more than $500,000 a year is worth over a million dollars. You know... in stocks, in their homes, in their cars... unless they have ">Jack Clark's accountant.

It's a nice attempt at a save, Partha, but the tax isn't aimed at people based on their asset levels; it's based on their incomes. The guy worth over a million dollars with "only" $400,000 in income is not affected by this tax.

Dave S:

Umm, whether it's aimed at their incomes or not, calling it the "millionaire's tax" isn't any more of a misnomer than "People who don't make anywhere close to a million tax."

David, you imply that they called it a millionaire's tax and then taxed people who weren't millionaires. That doesen't seem to be true.

Dave, this is a "Tax on people who made more than $500,000." There are different ways one can define millionaire -- income, assets, whatever -- but none of those in any way affect one's liability for this tax. The only thing that does is making $500,000 in income.

Making $500,000, regardless of assets -- you could invest it all in Enron and lose it -- triggers liability. Having millions in assets, but less than $500K in income, does not.

They call it a "millionaire" tax because they want to hide the number of people it applies to. Obviously I'm not asking you to feel sorry for someone making $500K, but people are a lot more likely to support a tax increase on those they perceive to be ultra-rich ("millionaires") than on the merely wealthy.

Dave S:

I think they call it a "millionaire's tax" because it taxes millionaires. You imply that there's a large group of non-millionaires who will be taxed under this plan, but that doesn't seem to be the case at all. Okay, so it is theoretically possible to earn $500,000 and not be a millionaire, and maybe a few people get taxed that way (neither of us, I suspect, has any idea how many people, if any, that would apply to).

Maybe I read too much into your statement, in which case I apologize. But to imply that there's deceit here, rather than just a search for a catchy name, is silly. If you want to argue that this tax is a bad idea because it will detract from economic growth, drive wealthy people away from Jersey, or simply because the government shouldn't be funding the arts and health care anyway, fine. But the nickname? Not everything is some sort of liberal conspiracy.

I don't think it's a "liberal conspiracy." I think it's political deceit, which is not in any way limited to liberals.


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