A wealth tax could have unpredictable effects on politics and philanthropy

Link post

Kel­sey Piper, A wealth tax could have un­pre­dictable effects on poli­tics and philan­thropy, Vox (Oc­to­ber 30, 2019). Some ex­cerpts:

A wealth tax will likely make billion­aires spend their money now in­stead of leav­ing it to their foun­da­tions or their de­scen­dants. If billion­aires suck (and many pro­po­nents of a wealth tax think that they do), this might mean more dis­tor­tionary poli­ti­cal spend­ing on be­half of ideals that most Amer­i­cans don’t share, rather than less of it.
Some pro­pos­als for a wealth tax would trans­form foun­da­tions like the Gates Foun­da­tion — and if it had been around in Henry Ford’s day, could have trans­formed the Ford Foun­da­tion.
As I’ve writ­ten and as even the fiercest crit­ics of philan­thropy have agreed, foun­da­tions do es­sen­tial work in many ar­eas that wouldn’t oth­er­wise get done. Try­ing to guess the effects of the pro­posed wealth taxes on these foun­da­tions and the work they do re­ally is a con­ver­sa­tion we should be hav­ing.