wealth tax

Elizabeth Warren's and Bernie Sanders' 'Wealth Tax' Would Be Terrible for Low-Income Workers

And it has failed in almost every country where it's been tried.

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With Democrats now in control of the House, Senate, and White House, many of the most significant policy battles of the next two years will be determined by intraparty fights within the Democratic Party's various factions.

Although not a moderate in any meaningful sense, President Joe Biden has always positioned himself strategically at the center of his party. Nevertheless, his defeat of the party's left wing in the last presidential primary won't be the end of a populist insurgence. Sadly, one fight will be between those, such as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who want to raise taxes significantly, and those who, like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), want to raise taxes even more significantly.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) would prefer the latter and has reintroduced her proposal for destructive wealth taxation. Her tax would impose a 2 percent annual levy on wealth over $50 million, going up to 3 percent for wealth over $1 billion. This purely class-warfare scheme is advertised as a way to close the U.S. wealth gap.

My Mercatus Center colleague Jack Salmon and I recently published a paper that looks at the economic literature on this issue to evaluate the arguments of wealth tax proponents. We found that they generally exaggerate wealth inequality in the United States, overestimate the potential revenue a wealth tax would raise, and minimize the negative impact of such a levy.

In a study done for the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Rice University economists John Diamond and George Zodrow examined the expected impact of Warren's previously proposed wealth tax (a 2 percent annual tax on wealth over $50 million, rising to 6 percent for wealth over $1 billion). They found long-run GDP loss of 2.7 percent, thanks in large part to a 3.7 percent decline in the capital stock. Economists Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Gordon Gray of the American Action Forum also found that Warren's wealth tax would cost workers 60 cents of earnings for every dollar of revenue raised, or approximately $1.2 trillion in lost earnings over the first 10 years.

If you're skeptical of economic predictions, consider that these scenarios have already played out in the real world. A detailed analysis by the Tax Foundation shows that while many Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries have tried a wealth tax, only five of those countries still have one today.

Wealth taxes weren't widely abandoned because these governments suddenly embraced free-market principles. Instead, implementing the tax put reality on a collision course with the same theoretical myths now being spread in the United States. These taxes don't rake in the revenue or solve the supposed problem of inequality. For starters, wealth taxes aren't paid by rich people who reduce their consumption as a consequence. They reduce their investments, which reduces capital formation, which slows productivity and wage growth. In other words, wealth taxes may be originally paid by wealthy folks, but the economic burden falls heavily on workers.

Previous wealth taxes also triggered capital flight to other countries, which explains the relatively small amount of revenue actually collected. Declining capital stocks then slowed economic growth and depressed overall tax revenues. The Tax Foundation notes, "Among those five OECD countries collecting revenues from net wealth taxes, revenues made up just 1.2 percent of total revenues on average in 2019." And high administrative costs due to a more complex tax made even the little bit of revenue raised unappealing. That's why so many countries gave up.

Preventing the inevitable capital flight that follows the imposition of a wealth tax would require authoritarian measures. Indeed, to go hand in hand with his proposed wealth tax last time around, Sanders called for the creation of a "national wealth registry," a major expansion of the Internal Revenue Service, and the imposition of an "exit tax" that would confiscate 40 percent of a rich person's wealth under $1 billion and 60 percent over $1 billion if they renounce their citizenship and try to escape the tax. Is this the world we really want to live in?

I'm sure Biden is under tremendous pressure to acquiesce to these progressive demands. He also needs loads of revenue for his big spending plans. He must resist. History tells us that he won't raise much money from a wealth tax, and he won't even deliver on a class warfare agenda, since workers will pay the price at a time when they can least afford it.

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  1. In other words, the progressives are as economically illiterate as we have thought them to be.

    1. Work hard pay taxes, save and invest and the government will confiscate your after tax savings/assets each and every year. Now it is only for the billionaires, then the millionaires then the thousandaires. Just like the original income tax.
      Government greed is insatiable and enforced at the point of a gun.

      1. It already includes millionaires (over 50M or 30M or whatever).
        And as the national debt continues to blow up, inflation will make sure most working people are millionaires.

        1. Destitute millionaires that is.

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      2. Billionaires making over $400K per year.

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    2. No, they are even more economically illiterate than we thought they were.

    3. As a real libertarian website explains, their motivation for their taxes is to attack the people they hate: https://mises.org/wire/if-deficits-dont-matter-why-bother-taxes

    4. Taxes should be proportionate. If they ever just taxed everybody across the board say 15% or even 20% including corporations the whole thing would go away.
      To say taxing the rich will be hard on low-income folks is delusional. That was the good ol’ “Trickle Down” deal and you see where that got us.
      What one of the biggest problems is the thinking that making money has to be on some kind of quarterly increase deal, mostly so those bonuses keep coming in. I call BS on that whole thing.

  2. Look, they’ll do it right this time. It hasn’t been really done properly. Just like something else whose name escapes me.

  3. But this time its different.

  4. Elizabeth Warren’s and Bernie Sanders’ ‘Wealth Tax’ Would Be Terrible for Low-Income Workers

    This is about rich people. Warren and Sanders could care less how it affects poor people.

    1. I’m sure they like the fact that more poor people will need to depend on the government for survival.

    2. Envy and coveting. A Christian and a Jew conspiring to break the Ten Commandments.

      1. Yep. It’s pure greed. They even have the audacity to accuse their targets of being the greedy ones. Shameless greed.

        1. Thomas Sowell — ‘I have never understood why it is greed to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.’

          1. ^PERFECT!

      2. Greedy socialists, always wanting other people’s money.

        1. Entrepreneurs and financiers may also be greedy of course, but they have to earn their wealth by providing things their customers want and willingly pay for.

        2. And it’s never enough. It’s always more More MORE.

    3. No, they like the fact it hurts poor and middle class, as they can continue to demagogue inequality.

    4. “Couldn’t care less” is the more correct phrase. Putting that aside, you’re right – Warren and Sanders – especially Warren, are more interested in punishing the very wealthy people than helping poor people.

      1. NO, Warren and Sanders are interested in punishing the working poor and lower class wage earners. It is clear that this tax will help next to nothing as Congress piles on massive giveaways on top of the Trump massive giveaways. The working poor depend most on the wealthy not for jobs but for capital accumulation as medium and large businesses are in many cases the only external source of wages.

  5. The “it’s only going to hit rich people” is the same hustle they used with the income tax. They’ll stick everybody with it sooner or later.

    1. They don’t even need to shuffle the dollars around. With the way they are printing money we will all soon be billionaires.

      1. “Thank you. Since we decided a few weeks ago to adopt the leaf as legal tender, we have, of course, all become immensely rich. […]

        “But we have also,” continued the management consultant, “run into a small inflation problem on account of the high level of leaf availability, which means that, I gather, the current going rate has something like three deciduous forests buying on ship’s peanut.” […]

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMoPR2IA2Uk

        I think Bernie and Liz saw this and couldn’t grasp the satire.

      2. On the bright side, I’ll need something to burn in my wood stove once they ban the natural gas that fuels my furnace.

  6. Wealth inequality is irrelevant at any level so long as the wealth is all earned through voluntary trade. The moral issue isn’t inequality, it is that some people get wealthy off theft, fraud, graft, regulatory capture, government subsidies, etc.

    If you want to handle the people who get rich immorally you need to end opportunities for graft, regulatory capture, etc. In other words you need to weaken the regulatory part of the government to the point that it can’t pick winners and losers.

  7. A tax like that will require an army of lawyers to get around.
    The democrats gets tons of money from lawyers.
    Ergo, ipso facto, henceforth thereunto, the democrats pay their debts to the lawyers.

  8. The funny part is that they are so ignorant as to not know what wealth is, in spite of having so much of it themselves. Imagine if they had to sell 6% of their wealth — and if everybody else in their class had to sell 6% — who would buy? All those who could have bought it are trying to sell their own — a classic buyer’s market, with prices in freefall.

    Now extend it to stocks and especially bonds — those wonderful treasury bonds, for instance. Suddenly the only people who could buy them would be foreigners, and the smaller pool of buyers means the price is going ti skyrocket. Isn’t that another of their idiotic rants, that foreigners own too much of the US national debt?

    Maybe that’s their equivalence of Trump’s 36DD chess, that they want to shift the bond owners to as many foreigners as possible, so when they run out of money, they can repudiate all treasury bonds, declare bankruptcy, and stiff foreigners while implementing the Green Raw Agenda.

    1. Some things about Trump are debatable, but the man clearly knows 36DD.

  9. The Democrats envision a poorer society. If they say things like people need to consume less, how do you think they achieve that? You make people poorer. Nothing upsets the Democrats more than a working class guy working a good job in construction or mining, able to afford a house, a truck, a jet ski, and a deer hunting trip. What they envision for him is a small apartment, commutes on mass transit, and walks in the park for recreation. If these taxes make the country poorer that means they are succeeding.

    1. And the walks in the park for recreation are only allowed if there is no ongoing public health emergency.

      1. “And the walks in the park for recreation are only allowed”

        With the proper permits, of course.

  10. I don’t see how this is even constitutional. The government can collect duties and income tax. This is flat out seizure of wealth, and so should be compensated, dollar for dollar.

  11. These are the same fuckers who got all mad when the GOP reduced the SALT deduction to $10K forcing their blue staters to pony up.

  12. My Mercatus Center colleague Jack Salmon and I recently published a paper that looks at the economic literature on this issue to evaluate the arguments of wealth tax proponents.

    the Internet has been around for what 30 years now and you can’t figure out how to use a hyperlink?

    We found that they generally exaggerate wealth inequality in the United States

    I call bullshit. I have never seen anyone actually exaggerate wealth inequality in the US. Most people have no idea about someone else’s wealth but they sure know their own. And there is no fakeness to the reality that tons of people cannot scrap together $500 for an emergency or that they are one paycheck away from the road to homeless. That is a function of wealth inequality not income inequality or even taxpayer inequality (since that group still pays income-based taxes either directly or indirectly).

    overestimate the potential revenue a wealth tax would raise

    No surprise that the Sanders/Warren will overestimate that but that is because they are venal assholes not because that is how wealth taxes ACTUALLY work below the punitive level of capital flight. The way they work is eg that a guy like Bezos will order (yes – ORDER) that dividends be paid by Amazon. That means he himself is going to be paying INCOME taxes because there is no longer a tax exemption for his unrealized profits converted into asset prices. And that means that every other shareholder who doesn’t and can’t have a controlling stake also receives dividends. Which means that they a)pay income taxes on those dividends and b)hold on to stock assets for a longer period since they can profit by holding rather than trading.

    minimize the negative impact of such a levy.

    They minimize that but no one ever anywhere lets them get away with that. Capital flight is the most obvious thing in the world. And it doesn’t require some boogieman fearmongering. It occurs when someone wealthy LEAVES – not when they whine.

    What is actually ignored is the POSITIVE impact of such a levy. Which is the longer term effect of that whole dividends/trading behavior change. If a Bezos has to COMPETE for ‘growth capital’ with all the other investment options that those dividend-receiving shareholders can choose, then that becomes an actual free market for capital itself. That is a huge positive for everyone. Except the plutocrats and cronies who donate to useful idiots who construct an ideology that lets them ignore all the TAX barriers to letting that sort of free market exist.

    1. Don’t worry, they will raise the tax on dividends and capital gains too.

      And people won’t “hold on to stock assets longer” on average, when multi-millionaires are forced to sell 2 to 3 percent of their holdings every year. Stock prices will fall with so many big sellers selling every year.

      1. Don’t worry, they will raise the tax on dividends and capital gains too.

        So you’re shifting the goalposts over to income taxes. Usual tactic.

        Stock prices will fall with so many big sellers selling every year.

        First – they don’t have to sell shit once they order dividends to be paid

        Second – this whole omfg rich people may sell something to someone else is laughable. If gummint prevented someone from selling too much wheat because the price might fall, you would call that socialist price controls. But oh no – let’s not let house prices or stock prices or assets change prices at all. FACT IS that the wealthy are holding on to stuff SOLELY because that holding onto ‘unrealized’ gains is a tax game used solely to avoid INCOME taxes in a system where people who don’t need (or can time) income can avoid having to pay those where the ‘little people’ have to pay.

        What are you REALLY worried about here? That someone rich has to sell their shares to someone who shows up at the shareholder meeting and doesn’t know how to use the right fork?

        1. And there is no fakeness to the reality that tons of people cannot scrap together $500 for an emergency or that they are one paycheck away from the road to homeless.
          That is a personal failure to control your finances, not something for the government to try to “fix”.

          1. I don’t see any proposal to FIX it. Merely to prove that tax revenues raise money where the money is. People who know they have no wealth – also understand that they will not pay taxes on what they themselves don’t have. When a ton of people have no wealth, then wealth taxes will appeal.

            Your moralizing about the inferiority and failings of the poor is in fact the source of the problem. You don’t give a shit about constructing a fair tax base to fund the spending. That’s not moralizing – it’s just math. You and your ilk need teaching lessons. So you construct poverty traps to ensure that you will always be able to see examples of all the moral failures of others. THAT is what gets R votes.

            1. But BTW – Switzerland does have a wealth tax. They use it not for punishment but simply to ensure that the tax base is broad and covers consumption, income, and wealth. Which means that marginal income tax rates can be lower. Which means poverty traps disappear and people can accumulate wealth. Which is why the lowest rung of the ladder can accumulate some wealth.

              1.7% of people in Switzerland have less than $10,000 in wealth.
              28% of Americans have less than that.

              That is a MASSIVE change in voting behavior about how a safety net can function. But hey – you morons can moralize and sermonize about that.

              1. Typical moronic statements from a typical leftist moron. America and Switzerland do not have comparable populations, cultures, immigration systems or economies.

                You beclown yourself with such idiocy.

              2. Haha. Jfree getting all worked up about other people’s money. Typical.

            2. We don’t need to raise taxes to cover spending when “deficits don’t matter”.

              1. That is exactly what 100% of R’s believe. Nor do they believe in cutting spending to avoid the need to fund that spending via taxes.

                1. Yes, the recent round of budget slashing shows how careful the “D’s” are with money.

                  1. D’s don’t claim to pretend to lower spending. They spend and, kind of, fund that increased spending with higher taxes.

                    May disagree with the policy and think its stupid and evil – but its not hypocrisy or fraud.

                    1. Yes, grasshopper, it is.

        2. I didn’t shift the goal posts first. You mentioned that stocks would start paying more in dividends. It’s a different set of goal posts.

        3. “First – they don’t have to sell shit once they order dividends to be paid”

          I think you missed the point of what a wealth tax is.

          1. They won’t have to pay 3% of their wealth once and then only 3% on future increases on their wealth. They will have to fork over 3% of their wealth every year.

            1. I’m very aware of how it works. and I think the 3% is ridiculous and deliberately punitive rather than an honest attempt to just make the tax base fair to fund spending (hopefully at a LOWER level, or at least trend, than present). But lets play that math game at 3%.

              A pension plan is a well managed portfolio of assets with expected rates of annual return. afaik those are now about 7.5%. But they actually realize about 6% longer term. So a 3% annual tax is roughly equivalent to a 50% max marginal tax rate. Which is punitive and distorting and clearly intended to avoid any discussion of lowering spending so you can lower marginal income tax rates. The whole thing is clearly intended to rationalize an increase in spending – not merely a serious tax reform.

              BUT – even that rate is not mindblowingly alien. I can see that sort of rate to fund a war if the cost of losing the war is that the rich lose everything to the conqueror. The poor rarely lose much in a war (even if they are the ones agitpropped into doing the fighting/dying) – meet the new boss same as the old boss.

              The point of all this being – there are normal government activities that protect PROPERTY not income. And it is insane to have a system where those are precisely the things that are exempted from tax base. It is even more insane to stick fingers in ears yelling lalalalalalala I’m not listening. It is the very definition of corrupted.

              1. You want no part of “fair”, douchebag.

  13. “the imposition of an “exit tax” that would confiscate 40 percent of a rich person’s wealth under $1 billion and 60 percent over $1 billion if they renounce their citizenship and try to escape the tax. ”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVo38a46zdc

  14. Start by rejecting the whole premise. Wealth inequality is not a “growing problem”, it’s a sign that we still have some economic freedom. Productive and creative people are able to generate and accumulate wealth, by providing things people want and are willing to pay for. The poor will always be poor.

    Then go on to point out why the latest crazy proposal is crazy, and won’t even work.

    1. And it’s not like being poor in the US means you starve or die of exposure.

      1. Of course not. The life span of the homeless is 30 years shorter than average because they go to the Big Rock Candy Mountain for a vacation and pedicure. They never die of exposure.

        Are you truly such a fucking idiot

        1. “The life span of the homeless is 30 years shorter than average”

          Do you have a source for that? The CDC says 20 years shorter than average but notes the homeless tend to have a higher proportion of mental illness. And of course the mentally ill population also has a shorter than average lifespan.

          1. Yes CDC calculates 20. The source of 30 is actually British – Sheffield University

            But in both cases, the mortality risks look similar. What is different is that in the US a larger number of people BECOME homeless in their 40’s, 50’s, and beyond (already near/inside the 30 year window) and soon die.

            What should happen and hasn’t is a study that shows remaining life expectancy from the point of homelessness. Because there’s a ton of factors that a)get worse with homelessness (drug abuse, mental, etc) and b)that are somewhat new risks (suicide, homicide victim, traffic death, exposure, etc).

  15. The poor will always be poor.

    Historically, the poor do not have the goal of getting rich. They have the goal of not working for someone else. Succeeding in that latter goal is actually the real ‘threat’ to the labor market. Withdraw one’s labor because they’d prefer to spend time with family means wages of others grow.

    The average medieval peasant had many more weeks off per year than the average American.

    1. The average medieval peasant had many more weeks off per year than the average American.
      Maybe that is why they were poor.

      1. That doesn’t matter if the poor don’t give a shit about measuring themselves using the measures of how rich people measure themselves. And btw – anyone who can’t sleep at night because they are stuck in a crappy job and risk being homeless if they quit it – is poor.

        If pursuit of happiness means they have a lot of friends and family at their wake, so be it.

        If pursuit of happiness means they have a lot of hungry beaks at the reading of the last will and testament, well so be that too.

        Let’s not pretend that everyone has the same path there. Or that the former is only available to a tiny group of people after a long time working to achieve the latter.

        1. You are all messed up inside.

          1. He’s a moron. I accept nothing he says at face value.

        2. “My baby mama crapped out a bunch of brats that we couldn’t afford, and neither of us have any marketable skills, so rich people should have more money taken from them by the bloated government.”

          Jfree logic, folks.

    2. “The average medieval peasant had many more weeks off per year than the average American.”

      and lower tax rates

    3. Your claims about medieval peasants are nonsense:

      “What Shor (and others, for there are others who make the same claim) has done is looked at the labour service expected of the villein and then claimed that this was the amount of work they had to do. Nonsense: this work on the lord’s demesne was the rent payable for the peasant’s own land to farm. Something which rather added to his workload of course, that farming his own land.”

      https://www.adamsmith.org/blog/regulation-industry/medieval-peasants-really-did-not-work-only-150-days-a-year#:~:text=Plowing%20and%20harvesting%20were%20backbreaking,rebelling%2C%20enforced%20frequent%20mandatory%20holidays.

      Not to mention all the labor beyond that of just tilling the land.

      “We might also point to the amount of household labour that had to be performed. Yarn had to be spun, cloth to be weaved. Cooking was over open fires: and that firewood had to be collected. Bread baked and so on and on. There was a recent report (rather exagerrated but still) which claimed that in the 1930s it took 65 hours of human labour a week to run a household. Today it takes 3. Things were worse back in medieval days.”

      (same source)

      1. Some of that makes a lot of sense. But one statement there – What has been done here is to mistake work in the market economy for all the work being done. – is revealing of the underlying point.

        Once you work in the market economy, the terms of work aren’t in your control. It is that loss of control where the result can easily be that the treadmill gets tilted. Have to work harder and harder for the same/less outcome. And soon it becomes the expectation that you always had to work harder. That the 1950’s ranch house in the burbs always required two incomes to pay the mortgage. Life has never been better. Now get back to work.

        1. Really? My ranch in the ‘burbs didn’t require 2 wages to pay the mortgage, and ours is a 15-year mortgage. Maybe if people didn’t blow cash on stupid shit, they’d have money to spend on housing.

          I mean, yeah, if you want to live in a hellhole like NYC or San Francisco, you’ll be lucky to pay a mortgage on 2 incomes. But that’s because local government zoning and NIMBY bullshit makes it impossible to build enough new housing.

  16. WSJ:

    The refrain is all too familiar: Widening income inequality is a fatal flaw in capitalism and an “existential” threat to democracy. From 1967 to 2017, income inequality in the U.S. spiked 21.4%, and everyone from U.S. senators to the pope says it’s an urgent problem. Yet the data upon which claims about income inequality are based are profoundly flawed.

    We have shown on these pages that Census Bureau income data fail to count two-thirds of all government transfer payments—including Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and some 100 other government transfer payments—as income to the recipients. Furthermore, census data fail to count taxes paid as income lost to the taxpayer. When official government data are used to correct these deficiencies—when income is defined the way people actually define it—“income inequality” is reduced dramatically.

    We can now show that if you count all government transfers (minus administrative costs) as income to the recipient household, reduce household income by taxes paid, and correct for two major discontinuities in the time-series data on income inequality that were caused solely by changes in Census Bureau data-collection methods, the claim that income inequality is growing on a secular basis collapses. Not only is income inequality in America not growing, it is lower today than it was 50 years ago.

    While the disparity in earned income has become more pronounced in the past 50 years, the actual inflation-adjusted income received by the bottom quintile, counting the value of all transfer payments received net of taxes paid, has risen by 300%. The top quintile has seen its after-tax income rise by only 213%. As government transfer payments to low-income households exploded, their labor-force participation collapsed and the percentage of income in the bottom quintile coming from government payments rose above 90%.

    In 2017, federal, state and local governments redistributed $2.8 trillion, or 22% of the nation’s earned household income. More than two-thirds of those transfer payments went to households in the bottom two income quintiles. Remarkably the Census Bureau chooses to count only $900 billion of that $2.8 trillion as income for the recipients.

    1. You left out the rest of the WSJ op-ed.

      1. Well, I didn’t feel like pasting the whole thing. I said it was from the WSJ–it’s not like I was claiming it as my own writing. I figured if you wanted to read the rest of it, there’s plenty enough to find the article, and pasting links tends to get comments sent to moderation. What exactly is the beef?

  17. Yes. Joe Blow’s 50K salary will be almost, but not quite equal to that evil rich guy’s $50 Million reduced to $49 Million.

  18. Leftist Ideology = gimme Gimme GIMMEEEEE!!!!!!. more More MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Wages relative to inflation have risen at historically slow rates over the last generation, and it’s no accident.

      The millennials are coming for your wealth. There’s nothing to stop them.

      Well, not your wealth. Like most libertarians you’re probably refusing to pay rent in your mother’s basement.

      1. Maybe millennials don’t work as hard as prior generations.

        1. No need; The Biden’s Gov-Gods and their Gov-Guns are “taking care” of every “don’t work as hard” person by enslaving the “working harder” to supply the resources.

          It’s the Democratic Utopia.
          Everyone gets the same resources no matter what they do.

          Until; that one day the “work harder” realizes that “don’t work as hard” pays better. Actually; most of us are already there.

          1. Value is a fiction we tell ourselves.

            A society can value having money over working hard. That’s a choice it can make. I certainly don’t mind it. I hate working hard, and I like making money by sitting on my ass and letting ones and zeroes move around in the ether.

            But if you insist on forcing the less fortunate to do backbreaking labor for peanuts so the rest of us can exploit their effort for our own separate economy of sitting on our asses while investments grow, I’m going to insist that they get a shot at the good life too, since we’re supposed to be a free society, not a fiefdom.

        2. Nope, productivity rose when wages were being flat.

          Either way, you’re implying that CEOs started working hundreds and thousands of times harder than they were in the 80s. Does that seem likely?

      2. We really shouldn’t shape society around the wishes of 20 somethings who chose bachelors degrees in whining as opposed to anything useful todo.

        A world where everyone’s equally that poor might be equal, but definitely not fair.

        1. I’d be more charitable on the generational assumptions. Productivity rose the entire time millennials’ wages stayed flat. They also came of age amidst about 4 global crises caused by Republicans.

          And they believe climate change is real, unlike their parents, so they have that going for them.

          You know, actually caring about whether human civilization survives into the future. Being “woke” I think they call it.

  19. I would think the sheer impracticality of tasking the IRS with magically determining every American’s net worth is enough to put this tired idea out to pasture

    1. Well now, the IRS will require tens of billions of dollars in new funding, new powers, and they will have to hire tens of thousands of new employees.

      1. Wait….. so, you mean that the extra “revenue generated” by this tax will only go toward enlarging government, and not toward helping the poor, or even the “greater good” in any way? Why, it almost sounds like anyone who would support this tax is a useful idiot enabling government waste! The hell you say!

        Jfree hardest hit.

  20. What’s the libertarian plan to redistribute wealth downward?

    Oh, you mean your very existence is predicated on the motive of transferring wealth upward and you have no such ideas, have no intention of finding any such ideas, and would sooner throw all the poor in debtors’ prison than tax a billionaire, and call it freedom?

    What about Elizabeth Warren’s 50-30-20 plan? Seems legit. It helped me build a nest egg. Maybe it’s just not as lucrative as skullfucking economic theory and buying politicians though.

    1. The libertarian plan is that all transfers are voluntary, and we all respect each other’s rights and property.

      If you want to acquire more wealth than you have now, provide something of value to someone else.

      If you’re incapable of providing something of value, appeal to charity. There will be a lot more wealthy people once taxes are banned.

      1. And note: the push for government welfare systems was because private charity was *too* generous. Famed economist Jevons makes such an argument in Britain in the late 19th century, and he was hardly the only one.

        Government welfare, of course, displaces private charity substantially. That’s historically proven at this point.

      2. “The libertarian plan is that all transfers are voluntary, and we all respect each other’s rights and property.”

        An immediate contradiction. Respecting rights and property necessitates the threat and reality of government force.

        “If you want to acquire more wealth than you have now, provide something of value to someone else.”

        The most efficient way I’ve found to acquire wealth is to put the money I made in my 20s into accounts that grow all by themselves. I dunno about you.

        “If you’re incapable of providing something of value, appeal to charity.”

        But I don’t want your shitty society where people born to poor parents have to rely on charity to acquire food and shelter. We can feed and house everyone. If we don’t, that’s an active choice. It’s a choice to make life miserable for most people and unfair for everyone.

        You can’t go on with this masturbatory premise that all the concentrated wealth that’s been accumulated to date got where it is by legitimate libertarian means.

        And if it didn’t, meaning it didn’t get there by voluntary free trade but political manipulation and such, what do you do about it? Tell the victims sorry, but the bank robber can’t be asked to pay restitution, because well he robbed the bank yesterday, and that’s clearly in the past?

        1. respecting rights requires government force/ Nonsense. The old west was effectively anarcho-capitalist, and despite popular perception, had very little crime. The high crime places were the few places where there was government presence! Check out the work of Anderson and Hill (Dept of Economics, Montana State, ~mid 2000s).

          Private charity is a shitty society/ Government welfare is actually shittier for people who need help. Private charity was more generous than the government welfare that displaced it (see Jevons).

          Legitimate wealth/ No, there are people who got their wealth because of government. That wealth is definitely illegitimate. But the only way to stop that is get government out of the economy. You can’t fix it with government – government *is the problem*.

    2. The idiot thinks there is only so much wealth to go around.

      1. And that it needs to be “distributed”.

    3. If you needed Elizabeth Warren to explain to you how to build wealth, you’re retarded.

    4. Honestly, yes, I spend my time figuring out how people poorer than me are going to get my money.

      It’s called “doing business”.

  21. “ For starters, wealth taxes aren’t paid by rich people who reduce their consumption as a consequence. They reduce their investments, which reduces capital formation, which slows productivity and wage growth. In other words, wealth taxes may be originally paid by wealthy folks, but the economic burden falls heavily on workers.”

    In other words, poop rolls downhill. Anyone with a brain stem knows that.

    1. What part of the word “fair” don’t you get?

      Haha.

  22. So the only two nazis* in the US government are still nazis. I am shocked.

    *literal nazis, as both have argued for more nationalism and more socialism.

    1. “The only two”??

      1. Yes the only two that have explicitly argued for more nationalism and more socialism. Unless I am forgetting others. But all of the other dems that want socialism also want globalism so the US can be the whipping boy of everyone

  23. Instead of the “exit” tax why not just build a wall with a one way valve. You could have open borders for those wishing to enter and live off the American taxpayers and, (like Germany once did) you could just shoot those who try to leave. Yep, the liberal utopia – certainly “fundamentally” changing the country when you have to penalize those who try to flee.

  24. Hey, it’s the old trope of “it’ll hurt lower class workers.” For people who have seen their productivity rise drastically since the 80s yet their wages clearly not, I’m not sure they give a shit.

    Let’s just cut taxes again! It only added 2 trillion to the debt (a full 10%) and ballooned the deficit to over a trillion (a 200% increase.) Surely that is the answer. Yes sir. And we know the little guy at the bottom who got a meek bonus maybe or a 10 cent raise is far happier with that, especially knowing his kids will have to pay for it a million fold given how high the debt is getting.

    Wealth tax might not be the answer but funding the IRS and making rich people pay their actual fair share certainly is.

    1. You are welcome to give up as much money to the IRS as you want.
      Oh, that’s right, you don’t have any.

    2. Ignorant. Beyond ignorant. Do a tiny bit of research on income inequality. And remember garbage in, garbage out is Warren’s MO.

    3. it’s the old trope of “it’ll hurt lower class workers.”

      Very old. Dating back to Adam smith. Or maybe the Bible:

      It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages. That is completely different from the wealthy – who need acts of benevolence and tax advantages in order to create wealth. For only they can create wealth and they will only do so via tax shelters concerning unrealized capital gains. So it is critical that the poor ensure that the tax base only includes consumption and income and that they respect the sacrifices of the wealthy in creating wealth. For someday, the poor will inherit the kingdom of God and the wealthy will get stuck in the eyes of needles.

    4. Meanwhile everyone’s frozen in anticipation of the right making noise about deficits, as scheduled.

      But nope. It’s all Dr. Seuss, all day.

  25. For the past twenty years studies show income inequality is not getting worse. The proponents of inequality forget to consider tax credits, transfer payments, and tax liabilities for a net income. Income inequality is getting to be less. Warren is an ignorant idiot.

    1. You have all that backward.

      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a2/Shares_of_Income_2016_CBO.png

      “The U.S. has the highest level of income inequality among its (post-)industrialized peers. When measured for all households, U.S. income inequality is comparable to other developed countries before taxes and transfers, but is among the highest after taxes and transfers, meaning the U.S. shifts relatively less income from higher income households to lower income households.”

      1. Wrong comparison. You need to compare US 20 years ago to US today. And Duelles is right, once you account for government transfers and taxes, US inequality has gone down. It’s not getting worse.

        (Why would you compare it to other countries to decide if US inequality is getting worse? That doesn’t even answer the question.)

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