Nobel laureates, a new congresswoman and others urge raising taxes on the ultrawealthy to counter surging inequality

John Horgan in Scientific American:

In 2015 I attended a workshop on political polarization with an eclectic group of scholars and activists. We swapped ideas on resolving battles over climate change, inequality, abortion and gay rights. One obstacle to compromise, a psychologist said, is that many Americans have a visceral, emotional reaction to issues like homosexuality.

I have a visceral, emotion reaction to inequality, I replied. It sickens me that some Americans have billions while others barely have enough to eat. An economist derided my attitude as typical left-wing irrationality. Inequality isn’t the problem, he said, poverty is the problem, and we shouldn’t try to solve it by taking more from the rich.

I felt chastened. But a flurry of recent articles—with headlines like “Abolish Billionaires” and “The Economics of Soaking the Rich”—argues that we should be appalled by the immense gap between the poor and rich. The proliferation of billionaires shows that capitalism is malfunctioning and in need of reforms, including higher taxes on the ultra-wealthy.

More here.