So the WSJ has an op-ed from an anesthesiologist allegedly discussing health care reform, and I figured I would listen to his opinion. I figure his specialty is one in which, like obstetrics and neurosurgery, there are really high malpractice premiums and lots of lawsuits, so I thought that would be his main complaint. Sadly, I was wrong. What pressing medical issue did this man with 20 years of experience want to address? The awful outcome of raising the top marginal rate to 70%. I wish I was kidding:
More broadly, the bill reflects the incorrect assumptions progressive politicians have made about the mindset of today’s doctors and how the health-care system operates.
The first error involves the new taxes on high wage earners. Progressives think marginal tax rates are a disincentive to work only when they reach, say, 70%. By raising taxes to only 60%, they expect a linear increase in tax revenues. But a new culture reigns in the world of upper-middle class professionals that invalidates this rule.
If the tax increase targeted 19th century aristocrats, the increase might be linear, since Old World aristocrats worked for honor—not money. Aristocrats viewed the whole notion of working for profit with contempt.
If the Protestant work ethic described by sociologist Max Weber dominated the earth, the tax bounty would also be huge. That’s because the stereotypical Calvinist businessman worked not just for profit, but because he believed it was his duty to work.
Later on he gets on to a little fear-mongering about women having to wait for epidurals, but by then I’d lost interest in anything he had to say.
I wonder if any of his co-workers have pointed out that no one has even proposed raising the tax rate to 70%?