Piketty's Wealth Tax Isn't a Joke

I've complained about Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the 21st Century" and I still think it's been vastly overpraised, but I don't go along with every criticism others have made. 
Raise your hand if you want to soak the rich. Photographer: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

I've complained about Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the 21st Century" and I still think it's been vastly overpraised, but I don't go along with every criticism others have made. As a matter of fact, I think one idea that's been roundly dismissed by fans and critics alike deserves to be taken more seriously: the proposal for a global wealth tax.

From the left, James Galbraith of the University of Texas at Austin says the idea is futile: "Why spend an entire chapter on it -- unless perhaps to incite the naive?" Daniel Shuchman in the Wall Street Journal says it ignores the sources of prosperity: "He breezily assures us that none of this would reduce economic growth, productivity, entrepreneurship or innovation." Tim Worstall at Forbes says it's a logical impossibility. "Mr Piketty's focus on soaking the rich smacks of socialist ideology, not scholarship," says the Economist.

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