In her June 10 Thursday Opinion essay, “Taxes that soak billionaires could be fair — but harmful,” Megan McArdle seemed to suggest that paying taxes on unrealized capital gains is the principal — or only — way to achieve a fairer tax base and criticized that straw-man suggestion. Please. For starters, why should individual tax rates reach 37 percent but capital gains be taxed at only up to 20 percent? Why should hedge fund managers’ income be “carried” so that they can be taxed as if they were capital gains? Why should inherited assets — such as stocks — be “stepped up” so that their original cost basis is recalculated and previous growth ignored? Why should the corporate tax rate be set at 21 percent, which will yield only about 1 percent of gross domestic product, roughly half of what was garnered 10 years ago?

Yes, a wealth tax would be a clumsy and difficult way to make taxation more equitable. But there are many other paths available to achieve that goal. Perhaps the easiest would be to heed the advice of several past Internal Revenue Service directors and treasury secretaries and provide the agency sufficient resources to simply ensure the collection of the vast amounts of hidden assets that currently escape appropriate taxation.

Alan Neuschatz, Chevy Chase