Here is my response, which I sent to him in an email.
Dear Mr. Albom:
Usually I read your column and think, "Mitch nailed it again."
Not so, today, though. In fact, for the first time ever, I must accuse you of sophistry. Your column is filled with all kinds of wrong; and out of respect for your intellect, I have to believe you know better. Have you been influenced by P.J. O'Rourke?
First, suggesting an increased tax on the rich is not resenting them. It is moving our Nation closer to the conditions that prevailed at a time when America enjoyed real prosperity. In the 50's and early 60's, marginal tax rates were in the 90% range, not the 35% range. Since then, while tax rates declined, so has GDP growth. I illustrate this on my blog.
Meanwhile, wealth disparity has increased, reaching a level not seen since 1928.
That is what is meant by, "The richest 1% of this country has had a pretty good run of it for many, many, many years." In fact, during the recent Bush administration, the average wealth of individual tax filing households in the richest 1% increased by $1 billion, or more. So, "Eat the Rich," is hardly what is being suggested.
And, no, the other 99% have not had a good run. Since the Reagan years, those in the lowest 20% have seen their real wealth deteriorate by 1 to 2% per year. Over this time span, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth from the poorest to the richest, and those at the very top have gained the most, by a large margin.
Do you really believe that the rich do not have available, and employ with great vigor and enthusiasm, all manner of tax dodges? To suggest that they do is not insulting. To suggest that they don't is either frankly dishonest or demonstrates naivety that is unacceptable in a professional commentator. To the extent that the use of tax dodges might be reduced, you could perhaps attribute the change to the fact that at a 35% tax rate, such dodges are worth less than they were under higher tax rates. Further, you blithely brush off the low tax rate on capital gains, saying such income is based on income already earned and taxed. In other words, rich people have the wherewithall to indulge themselves in this tax-favored activity, because they're ALREADY RICH!
Sure the richest 1% pay over 40% of the income taxes. That is not because the tax system is unfair to them. It is because they bring in far, far more than 40% of the income. But, surely, you realize this. And you must also realize that you are, in a very misleading way, quoting marginal tax rates while suggesting that they are the effective tax rates.
Worst of all, and this truly is insulting, is your snide suggestion that the real beneficiaries of Obama's health care plan are those people "who never really look for work, who don't bother in school, who look for ways to live off the state," recycling in your own ill-considered words the old Reagan canard of Welfare Queens in Cadillacs. And you build straw men of noble single mothers and greedy pigs. I know you are not naive enough to believe any of that.
Then you actually go on to use the phrase,"milking the rich."
What's up, Mr. Albom? Everything about this article - the gratuitous snark, the wrong-headedness, the straw men, the callous disregard for reality and truth - says "not Mitch Albom" to me. How can a person who has always been so right-minded and reasonable suddenly be regurgitating right-wing talking points a la Fox News and the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal? What, sir, has happened to you?
Yours in grave disappointment,