In his Washington Post column today, Robert Samuelson acknowledges that inequality has increased in America and allows that "the present income distribution hardly seems optimal." Should the very rich be taxed more highly? Not necessarily, he explains with faux evenhandedness:
It's true, as liberals say, that the Bush administration pampered the rich.... But it's also true, as conservatives say, that liberals popularize the fantasy that taxing the rich more will solve most budget problems.
Now, I'm not sure anyone has suggested that increasing the tax burden on the very rich to, say, Clinton levels, would "solve most budget problems." But it'd certainly help somewhat, no? Never fear, though, Samuelson has a better idea:
It would be healthier if the trend toward greater economic inequality reversed itself spontaneously.
Perhaps true. But it'd also be healthier if a prominent economics writer had a more concrete proposal to offer than crossing our fingers.