“The POINT here is that government ownership of the means of production is entirely different than shared services.”

Agreed. In fact, I never disagreed with that kind of statement.

“Ergo, using the same term to encompass both is simply an incorrect use of language.”

{Sigh}. Again, you really should learn more about linguistics. Look up ‘hypernyms’ and ‘hyponyms’.

“An apple cannot be an orange.”

And both can be fruits. ‘Fruit’ is the hypernym of both ‘apple’ and ‘orange’.

“it’s more germane to discuss shared services.”

What are ‘shared services’? I’ve been talking about ‘redistribution’ — is there any relationship between the two terms?

“I call out the right over their misuse of terminology as well.”

I take it, then, that you acquiesce to my statement that it was the right that first began using the word ‘socialism’ to mean ‘any form of redistribution’.

“…considering that the wealthy already pay such an unusually high (for an OECD nation) percentage of the overall taxes?”

No, they don’t. Again, your data covers only income taxes. What about capital gains taxes? At 20%, they are considerably less than income taxes for the middle class. And capital gains are the primary source of income for the wealthy. Because capital gains are so important a source of income for the wealthy, capital gains taxes are the primary measure of their tax burden, not income taxes.

“If we ever want European-style social services in the US, the tax burden on the middle income and up has to rise substantially. If that were to be suggested, the Democrats would scream that we were lessening the progressivity of the system (true), but it’s the only way we could ever possibly raise the money we need (also true).”

Here we come to the crux of the issue. I think you underestimate the net assets of the wealthy. Currently the top 10% of Americans own 73% of all the wealth owned by Americans. That’s about $70 trillion. The Federal government receives about $1.6 trillion in income taxes. If ALL income taxes were paid ONLY by the top 10% of Americans, they’d lose about 2.3% of their wealth every year. But they’re earning at least 3% on their capital, so they would continue to grow wealthier even then. Of course, we can wiggle the numbers around and discuss many variations, but the basic point is clear: we could eliminate all income taxes for the bottom 90% of the public, without loss to the government and without confiscatory levels of taxation for the wealthy.

“Hmmmm. Quiz Time. How is it that “reduced the progressivity” of the tax plan, but the GINI ratio did not accelerate?”

It’s called ‘multivariate statistics’. Look it up.

“I believe I am on solid ground when I state that the belief that tax policy is the primary driver of inequality is a minority opinion among economists.”

I can agree with that. But ‘tax policy’ is not the same as ‘wealth transfer by the government’.

Here’s a point on which I think we can agree: the primary driver of increasing inequality is the dramatic rise of the increase in the ratio of value of capital to value of labor in the economy. There’s not much that we can do about that; ultimately, it’s beneficial to all. But social stability requires that the government take steps to redress that increasing inequality — and it has in fact done the reverse.

Master of Science, Physics, 1975. Computer Game Designer. Interactive Storytelling. www.erasmatazz.com