A little history might just inspire us to try that taxing again

By Sam Pizzigati, Inequality.org

Once upon a time, the United States seriously taxed the nation’s rich. You remember that time? Probably not. To have a personal memory of that tax-the-rich era, you now have to be well into your seventies.

protest sign that says tax the rich featuring monopoly man face

Back at the tail-end of that era, in the early 1960s, America’s richest faced a 91 percent tax rate on income in the top tax bracket. That top rate had been hovering around 90 percent for the previous two decades. In the 1950s, a Republican president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, made no move to knock it down.

The rich felt those taxes. The high life struggled. Consider what happened to one fabled emblem of that era’s excess, the nation’s first-ever penthouse.

Marjorie Merriweather Post, an heiress who had become America’s richest woman, had that penthouse built atop a new Fifth Avenue luxury tower in 1925. The top federal tax rate then in effect as builders were putting the finishing touches on Post’s spectacular three-floor, 54-room residence: just 25 percent.

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