I'm afraid I gave the impression yesterday that I thought the fate of Manhattanites makes $200K+ was infinitely more tragic than the fate of single mothers making $20K. Not so. The point wasn't that beleaguered Manhattanites are particularly worthy of our sympathy--though there really is a disconnect between the lifestyle being taxed in Manhattan and Omaha at similar levels of income. Rather, it's that almost no one, including people who are quite affluent, seems to have realized that they're on the hook for the spending they support. Yet the more practical plans for funding Obama's expensive agenda involve things like a VAT, which will fall on the activists most enthusiastic about national health care. Yet none of the think tankers I know believes that they are undertaxed, or can easily spare 10% of their wages.
Why is that the most practical? Look at our current deficit. There's a reason that most countries do not attempt to fund large welfare states with a very progressive income tax, the way we do*. The income of the wealthy is fungible, mobile, and volatile. These are not strengths from the vantage of the tax system.
Paying for a huge new entitlement which will, at best, grow steadily during downturns, should not be done with a tax that will plummet the way progressive income tax revenues seem to during a depression. See: California, State of.