We need to take steps to equalize opportunity in this country, which is plagued by a vicious combination of high income inequality and low income mobility. More and more Americans are recognizing that the status quo is unacceptable. But Robert Reich, who served as Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, is taking the wrong approach to the problem. Rather than trying to build a bipartisan consensus, he wants to reinstitute confiscatory taxes on the rich:
To equalize opportunity, all Americans would need access to far better schools and more affordable health care. All would need extended unemployment insurance and wage insurance. All would need affordable access to post-secondary education. And to pay for all of this, and guarantee upward mobility, the tax system would have to be made far more progressive than it is today – starting with excusing the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes and removing the $100,000 cap on those taxes, and getting back toward the 70 to 90 percent marginal tax on the highest incomes we had under Eisenhower and JFK.
There's a strong case to be made that top marginal tax rate rates of the sort that we had under Clinton (39.6%) did not distort economic incentives or growth, but "getting back toward the 70 to 90 percent marginal tax on the highest incomes" is both politically infeasible and economically unwise. Let's start with rolling back the upper-income Bush tax cuts and instituting a carbon tax and go from there.