Should the rich be taxed more? A new paper shows unequivocally yes | Larry Elliott

Measuring tax paid against share of income earned and wealth owned reveals the US tax system has become less progressive – and in Britain it is a similar picture

Denis Healey never actually said he intended to squeeze the rich until the pips squeaked. The man who would soon be Labour chancellor was referring solely to property speculators when he made the remark during the February 1974 election campaign.

But the rich knew full well that Healey was coming for them, too. At the previous year’s Labour party conference, he said: “We shall increase income tax on the better off so that we can help the hundreds of thousands of families now tangled helplessly in the poverty trap, by raising the tax threshold and introducing reduced rates of tax for those at the bottom of the ladder. I warn you, there are going to be howls of anguish from the rich. But before you cheer too loudly, let me warn you that a lot of you will pay extra taxes, too.”

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