Instead, the Times admits that the real target is the middle class, because that’s where the real money is. And it’s easier to get, too:
To reduce the deficit in a weak economy, new taxes on high-income Americans are a matter of necessity and fairness; they are also a necessary precondition to what in time will have to be tax increases on the middle class. (my emphasis)
For one thing, the wealthy don’t have enough money to make a dent in the deficit. And what they do have they can keep away from the tax man. As Dan Mitchell explained, people with incomes over $1 million a year earn two-thirds of their income from capital appreciation which is taxed at much lower rates. And the same goes for the super rich, those with incomes over $10 million: they earn 81 percent of the income from capital, not from wages.
As Mitchell explains, there’s another way the rich can avoid paying taxes: don’t work so hard. Or they can move.
That’s what makes the final editorial comments from the Times so revealing:
Raising taxes at the top is neither punitive nor gratuitous. It is a needed step, both to achieve near-term budget goals and to lay the foundation for a healthy budget in the future. As the economy strengthens and the population ages, more taxes will be needed from further down the income scale, both to meet foreseeable commitments, especially health care, as well as unforeseeable developments, from wars to technological challenges. But there will never be a consensus for more taxes from the middle class without imposing higher taxes on wealthy Americans, who have enjoyed low taxes for a long time. (my emphasis, again)
The real target, as always, is the middle class. Rhetoric about taxing the rich is just a cover.