FROM Robert Frank
When the Wealthy Sneeze, the Economy Catches Cold The wealthiest Americans are a changing breed as conservative savers turn into manic spenders. Risk-taking millionaires can find themselves living out of their cars. What does that mean for the rest of us? Can government programs be sustained if they depend on taxing the least stable segment of the consumer economy?
When the Wealthy Sneeze, the Economy Catches Cold Democrats have given up on taxing millionaires to finance payroll tax cuts, but just for the moment. President Obama is clearly zeroing in on "the 1 percent." With economic inequality at record levels, there's growing pressure for the wealthy to pay more for government programs. But how much more? It's no longer true that the rich necessarily get richer. What was the most stable segment of the economy now feels booms and busts more than anyone else. Nobody's sympathizing with people who've lost their yachts and mansions, but what happens to government if it has to depend on them?
Live by the Rich, Die by the Rich California's dependence on wealthy taxpayers brought some good news this week with $6.6 billion in new revenue . But, in the future, bad news is virtually inevitable -- for the same reason. We hear from Robert Frank, writer and blogger for the Wall Street Journal , and Jean Ross, Executive Director of the California Budget Project .
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