Best Defense

Does Joint Chiefs Chairman Mullen want to jack up tax rates on the rich?

Does Joint Chiefs Chairman Mullen want to jack up tax rates on the rich?

If he has the courage of his convictions, he should, because he says debt is our biggest national security problem.

Well, here’s the answer, or at least part of it: Make the rich pay their fair share, or at least more of it. For the last 30 years, the top 1 percent of Americans have made out like bandits, hauling in 80 percent of the increase in American income. During that time, the national infrastructure has been crumbling, among other things, while the rich have retreated to gated lifestyles — private schools, private security, and a general non-participation in the life of the society.  

Right now the wealthiest one percenters grab 24 percent of annual income in this country. That’s even more than the 15 to 18 percent they hauled in during the robber baron era of the Carnegies, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts.

All this data comes from a fascinating new overview of income inequality done by my friend Tim Noah in Slate. Amazing that he can do this and put out all those children’s albums, too.     

As long as we are talking about smart people I know, here is a list of the best recent books on education, taken from an Education Next poll. Friends of this blog should consider voting for Karin Chenoweth’s It’s Being Done — a surprising study of how some schools in poor areas radically improved their quality, without necessarily having charismatic leadership.