Money Is Wasted On the Rich

At an art auction on Tuesday night, an anonymous buyer bid $43,800,000.00 (that’s 43.8 million dollars) for this painting (the blue thing with the white stripe, not the gentlemen in suits).

We could draw lots of conclusions from this latest Gilded Age moment. At a minimum, we ought to have a progressive sales tax, one that applies higher rates to more expensive purchases. For this particular purchase, I’d recommend a tax of at least 100%.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/arts/design/record-auction-price-for-barnett-newman-at-sothebys.html?hp

4 thoughts on “Money Is Wasted On the Rich

  1. Hey, what’s a few zeros when you’re discussing vast sums of cash? Perhaps I was so impressed by the amount involved that I unconsciously concluded there must have been even more zeros. But I’ve made a correction to satisfy all you number or accuracy purists.

  2. Don’t you get it? The painting IS the tax… some clever artist relieved that dumb billionaire of $43 million of his wealth. The billionaire effectively paid a $43 million tax to another member of society and only got a blue canvas in return.

    • The purchase price surely takes a lot of money from one rich person, but it transfers that money to another rich person. There is a sales tax, but it’s only 6 or 7%. My point was that we could get more tax money out of a transaction like this (which we could use as a city, state or nation), and apparently money is no object to the person who bought this thing. Actually, that last statement isn’t quite true, because the person who bought this painting has something that he may be able to sell to some other rich person and even make a profit. That’s another way in which spending so much on a painting isn’t like a tax, even though the buyer has less money than before.

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