That’s the Room for Debate question over at the NYT. I weigh in here riffing off of the recent 529 screw-up. Despite the fact that CATO economist Jeff Miron and I wind up in diametrically opposed camps–I think the code should be more progressive (though I argue there’s no “middle-class exemption,” where “middle class” means almost everyone) and he clearly doesn’t–much of his argument seemed pretty spot-on to me. There’s a ton a upward redistribution through the tax and regulatory codes, as Dean Baker has also emphasized.
Though that’s an old story, it’s also the predictable outcome of high levels of wealth concentration and lots more money in politics, wherein the wealthy can buy and protect the policies that support their holdings. They also can and do buy the “think-tank” results they want to support their case, so good for Miron/CATO in calling out the upside-down subsidies in the system.