Defining 'Fair Share,' Green Candidate Calls for Higher Taxes on Rich

Laura Wells doesn’t think the “rich” hate her, but she might be wrong about that.

Wells, a California Green Party candidate for comptroller, was on “Cavuto” on the Fox Business Network April 1 to call for higher taxes on “the rich.”

Host Neil Cavuto jokingly opened the segment by asking if rich people “just hate you.” Wells replied: “I don’t think so.” But by the end of the interview rich people certainly wouldn’t have loved her either.

She advocated raising taxes on people who make $200,000 or more a year. “Now $200,000 a year is a lot! And to pay a greater percentage of that as taxes still leaves you with plenty of money,” Wells said.

After Wells couldn’t tell Cavuto what percentage of income those people making over $200,000 a year should pay, the Fox host asked “So you don’t hate rich people you just want them to suffer?”

“If paying your fair share is suffering (laugh),” Wells replied. “But no, I don’t. What I would like is for them to pay their fair share.”

Cavuto retorted, “So paying half your income to the government isn’t suffering?”

“Well, if you’re making a million bucks and you can’t live on $500,000,” Wells said trailing off as Cavuto interjected sarcastically, “Then you’re a greedy pig. So true.”

Concentrated wealth was a “problem” according to Wells, who recited the tired line that “there are fewer rich people with more and more money,” meanwhile the middle and working classes make less.

Wells claimed to be speaking for all Americans when she called for the rich to pay higher taxes: “What I would like to see is basically what the American people would like to see. Where the people who get a reward, who get a chance at success are people who haven’t already blown it completely for themselves and a whole lot of other people.”

But taxing the rich even more won’t actually help the poor and is not supported by all Americans. Even New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg told the New York Post on March 7 that taxing the rich would backfire.

“We can tax the rich, except that, if you haven't looked at the stock market lately, they aren't making any money," Bloomberg said. He also explained that it is the wealthy that are still shopping in stores, keeping people employed and generating sales tax revenue.

Supposedly Wells was arguing for a tax hike on the rich to help solve California’s budget deficit. But there’s a problem with her idea, and it’s called “Hauser’s law” after a San Francisco investment economist. As explained by David Ranson, head of research at H.C. Wainwright & Co. Economics Inc. in a May 2008 Wall Street Journal op-ed a curious thing happens when tax rates are increased.

“Economists of all persuasions accept that a tax rate hike will reduce GDP, in which case Hauser’s Law says it will also lower tax revenue. That’s a highly inconvenient truth for redistributive tax policy,” Ranson wrote.

On April 1, California hiked its state sales tax to 6 percent, which raises the average local sales tax to almost 9 percent. According to the Associated Press, it is one of the highest sales taxes in the nation.