Bernie Sanders is making a key focus of his 2020 Democratic presidential candidacy the complete elimination of billionaires.
Sanders, who once said billionaires should not exist, introduced a new tax plan which would impose a tax rate of more than 100 percent on the richest 400 Americans.
From the Washington Examiner:
The idea that the federal government should take more from the very wealthy than they earn in a year is a policy innovation, one the Democratic candidate has advanced as part of a sweeping anti-inequality platform. Critics, however, argue that it’s unrealistic and would harm the economy by reversing billionaires’ incentives to innovate and invest.
Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, the Berkeley economists who’ve advised Sanders on his wealth tax plan and the authors of a new book on inequality, calculate on their website that Sanders’ tax proposals would result in a 97.5% tax rate for the richest 400 Americans, who have pre-tax incomes above $456.5 million — and that rate would rise above 100%, depending on how the specifics of Sanders’ plan were spelled out. Today, in contrast, the tax rate for the same group is 23.1%, they estimate.
According to the report, which cites various economists, the wealthiest of Americans are unlikely to pay 97.5 percent or more in taxes—which could result in tax evasion.
Marc Goldwein, the senior policy director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, reportedly asked: “What’s the incentive to grow your own company if your wealth is decreasing every year?”
“It’s not ridiculous in that it is accomplishing its goal, which is to end multi-billionaires,” Goldwein added. “This will, in theory, accomplish it.”
The Washington Examiner reports Ben Ritz, an economist at the Progressive Policy Institute, similarly said: “The idea that someone like Jeff Bezos is going to pay 97% or more of their income in taxes is on its face ridiculous.”
“I think to Bernie’s credit, he wants to show that he can pay for things, for all of his faults, unlike a lot of other left-wingers,” Ritz continued. “He says if you want more government spending, you have to pay more for it — not just the rich, but everybody.”