Ask The Economist: Why Elasticity Means Soaking the Rich Won’t Work
In the history of civilization, income tax policies designed primarily to soak the rich have always failed. Why? Because of a basic concept of economics called elasticity. Imagine the price of gas goes up by $4 per gallon (to say, the European price). If you routinely buy 20 gallons of fuel a week for your “fun” car (maybe a BMW M3 or Chevy Corvette), would you, after this price hike, be likely to add an extra $80 a week to the coffers of the gas company? The answer is, of course, no. You observe the price of gas going up and cut your consumption.