Monday, June 06, 2011

Yuval Levin wants tax rates to be both high and low

I've seen several references today to an article in National Affairs called "Beyond the Welfare State," by Yuval Levin, who appears to be a relatively thoughtful conservative with actual interest in ideas. So I decided to give it a glance.

Not to be too critical, but I did notice this bit from his recommendations near the end of the piece:

What he calls the "conservative vision" would "begin with a simple and predictable tax system, with a broad base and low rates ....

"Second, essentially all government benefits — including benefits for the elderly — should be means-tested so that those in greater need receive more help and those who are not needy do not become dependent on public support." Etcetera.

Not to say one couldn't support both of these ideas. But does Levin realize that means-testing benefits is economically equivalent to raising (perhaps significantly) people's marginal tax rates in the benefits phase-out range?

No comments: