The history of tax‐rate increases shows that they seldom produce much revenue. Their principal effect is to make higher taxes on the poor and the middle class more palatable. In fact, because of inflation and real growth of the economy, in just a few years tax rates originally imposed on the rich often apply to those with middle incomes. The rich, meanwhile, often evade higher rates by making increased use of deductions and other legal tax shelters. Moreover, higher rates tend to encourage Congress to add new deductions to the tax code.
The Clinton plan, therefore, is based on false premises and is unlikely to achieve the goal of increasing the tax burden on the wealthy. It will probably lead, instead, to higher taxes on the poor and the middle class, as higher revenues from the rich fail to materialize. In the end, the burden of higher taxes must fall largely on the middle class because that is where the bulk of income is. Thus, maintaining a low top tax rate is the best way to ensure that tax rates remain reasonable for those with low and moderate incomes.