For example, raising income tax to 45 percent on households earning an average of $2.1 million would create $276 billion in revenue for the first year. That number alone could pay for a high-speed rail system, fix roads, and fund Medicare. But if that seems too much, raising taxes to 40 percent on the 0.1 percent of people making $9 million a year or more would get us $55 billion in extra revenue, which is a few billion shy of being able to send everyone to college for free. 45 percent would get you $100 billion — enough to build and maintain at least five Jurassic Parks, provided those asshat geneticists start pulling their goddamn weight.

Universal Pictures
We needed this like yesterday, you clowns.

While this idea has been criticized for its vague simplicity and not solving inequality as a whole (the rich would remain stupid rich, even with increased taxes), both assessments seem to be missing the point. For starters, we don’t necessarily need to “solve” inequality or even our national debt in order to help the unfortunate, and the fact that taxing the rich more won’t put a dent in their wealth seems like a good thing. It means that there’s a way to create a baseline quality of life while not waging class war.

And if the concern is that of vagueness, it should be noted that once Bernie Sanders laid out a way more detailed plan for raising taxes to help the less fortunate, those same critics found it to be solid, albeit still not perfect. So while there’s room to push and pull over how much to tax vs. what benefits to offer with that surplus, the overall conclusion has been that sliding that tax scale a tiny bit more would make very little difference for the rich, but a huge difference for the poor.

So What’s The Goddamn Holdup?

Like … society, man. For starters, politicians are fucking obsessed with the idea that poor people are going to take advantage of the opportunities we give them. So much so that the latest GOP health care bill spent a tenth of its girth focused on what happens when a poor person wins the lottery. And if you think Democrats are any better, try to remember that the richest and least economically equal districts are run by them. (Fun fact: In 2014, Michele Bachmann’s district had the lowest level of income inequality in the U.S.)

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Goddamn bleeding heart Tea Party socialists.

No matter which side of the political coin you subscribe, you’ve likely been conditioned to make things easier on the people running the show. Think of movie heroes like Tony Stark and Captain America having all the power and zero accountability, or truck drivers and factory workers being told that working the hardest jobs for little reward is real American work. We’re taught that being a success means starting as an underdog and earning your keep, despite most of America’s wealthy never having to experience that themselves. We’re taught that teachers and police officers should make less money than the entertainers telling their harrowing bootstrap-pulling stories. We’re taught that there’s some kind of shame or tyranny in taking from the well-off and helping those in need.

And so all we have to do is, like, change that entire culture of America, and perhaps we can start talking about raising taxes for the rich. So OK, I guess it’s not that simple after all.

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