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Cynthia Nixon Has No Idea How Much New York's Millionaires Pay in Taxes. She Wants Them To Foot the Bill For Her Progressive Agenda Anyway.

Progressive policies require higher rates and a broader base.

Craig Ruttle/Polaris/NewscomCraig Ruttle/Polaris/NewscomCynthia Nixon wants millionaires to pay their fair share of taxes. Also, Cynthia Nixon does not know how much millionaires pay in taxes already.

On Wednesday, the former Sex and the City actress and New York gubernatorial candidate sat down with the New York Daily News editorial board to discuss the finer points of her sweeping, progressive policy agenda, which includes spending billions more on education, transit, and healthcare.

To pay for all these policies, Nixon is looking at soaking the rich. Her #fixthesubway plan would rely in part on a millionaire's tax. The Medicare-for-all bill Nixon's endorsed would require high income earners and their employers to spend thousands more on healthcare than they currently do. And her $7.4 billion education plan? Fat cats will be on the hook for that one, too.

"That sounds expensive," Nixon said of her education plan to the Wall Street Journal. "You know what? It is, and it should be. We can do it by requiring that millionaires, and billionaires and corporations, who this economy has blessed, pay their fair share for all of our children."

Yet when the Daily News Ed. Board asked Nixon some basic questions about the burden already shouldered by New York's high-income earners, the candidate was reportedly flummoxed.

"Though she has made imposing a millionaire's tax to help fund education and the subways a central theme to her campaign, Nixon, who is a first-time candidate with no state government experience, did not know the top income tax rate in New York, which is 8.82%. She also couldn't say how much of the income taxes raised for the state budget comes from millionaires—it's 40%—or offer a ballpark figure.

She said she worries there could be a breaking point where the wealthy decide to leave the state, but doesn't believe New York has hit that situation yet. She also said that by offering corporations and the wealthy tax breaks, it's starving the state of needed revenue to improve schools and infrastructure, all things businesses look for when deciding where to locate."

For someone who has made squeezing more money out of high income earners the lynchpin of her progressive campaign, this is a shocking and telling display of ignorance. It reveals an unfounded belief—not uncommon among many on the progressive left—that all that is needed to erect a Nordic-style social welfare system is higher and more progressive income taxes.

Yet, the fact is paying for expansive healthcare and educational benefits for everyone requires taxing everyone, not just a small but wealthy slice of corporations and high-income earners. Indeed, countries like the Denmark and Sweden manage to pay for their welfare states only through higher rates of taxation applied to a very broad base of people.

According to a 2015 Tax Foundation study, Denmark's top marginal income tax bracket of 60 percent kicks in for income earners making over 120 percent of national median income (which would be about $70,000 here in the United States), and the country charges a 25 percent value added (sales) tax. In the U.S. one has to make about 700 percent of the national median income ($400,000) before they're subject to top marginal tax rates. The U.S. also has no value added tax, with the steepest sales taxes in the country barely cracking 10 percent.

Despite this, leading lights of the progressive left continue to talk about their plans for the welfare state's expansion as if it can be born on the backs of the wealthy alone.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.)—America's most prominent self-identified socialist—continues to call tax hikes on millionaires and billionaires "the fairest way…to guarantee health care as a right," and his plan for funding Medicare-for-all includes a whole section on "options to make the wealthy pay their fair share."

Yet when one totals up the money Sanders expects to raise from those options, it amounts to $4.5 trillion over ten years. That's a princely sum that still pales in comparison to the $32.5 trillion costs of his Medicare-for-all legislation.

At best, this focus on taxing the rich by Nixon, Sanders, and co. to pay for their chosen policies demonstrates a naiveté about the costs of these programs. At worst, it's a craven attempt to win office using bait-and-switch plans that won't actually deliver what progressive candidates promise.

Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle/Polaris/Newscom

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  • ||

    shocking

    Not...even...close.

  • perlchpr||

    Yeah.

    For someone who has made squeezing more money out of high income earners the lynchpin of her progressive campaign, this is a shocking and telling display of ignorance.

    Only if you've never seen one of these economically ignorant buffoons open their pie hole before.

  • Sevo||

    SF has a Supe who is firm in her belief that mandating a certain number of BMR-units in a development in no way affects the pricing of the remaining 'market-value' units.
    AFAIK, no one among the local 'media' has bothered to ask her where the money comes from to cover the discounts all those units.
    But it's not real surprising; the local 'media' is filled with econ-idiots.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    they also killed the development of a high rise development because the developers wouldn't accede to their demands for the number of below market units and are now looking at how to hand the property over to a "non-profit" to build the same high rise with 100% below market housing. Guess who's paying for that.

  • Just Say'n||

    Has anyone ever seen a picture of Nixon's wife?

    There is no way anyone can say that she doesn't believe in charity.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Did you mean to say "chastity"?

  • ||

    There is no way anyone can say that she doesn't believe in charity.

    You think Nixon is the "giver" in that relationship?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I guess she doesn't do her own taxes.

  • Ben of Houston||

    I can understand not doing your own taxes and not being able to quote exact numbers (at her level of wealth, you definitely want a practiced accountant). However, she should have been able to give approximate numbers to the nearest 10% at the very least.

  • 10percenter||

    Exactly. This is the kind of stuff any serious candidate should be able to answer. If the press pays any attention to her after this then they should be ashamed of themselves. This is Aleppo level incompetence.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    But she was a tv star!

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Kind of.

  • Longtobefree||

    I have heard it said it is better to be a 'has been' that a 'never was'.

  • Al Bendova||

    The voters that she is reaching out to are just like her. They do not care about numbers. They only care about getting their "Fair Share" from the rich.

  • Just Say'n||

    There were four main characters on Sex and the City and Nixon was the least attractive of the bunch. Think about that. Sarah Jessica Parker beat her in the looks department.

    Only accountants are good at doing taxes---> All accountants are ugly---> Only ugly people are good with taxes---> Ergo, of course she does her own taxes.

    SCIENCE!

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    SJP at least had a body you could appreciate with a grocery bag...

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Is she related to Richard Nixon, and if so, how?

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    She doesn't like tricky dick?

  • Harvard||

    Just remember....You Can't Lick Our Dick!!!!

  • esteve7||

    Funny how whenever they talk to the media about their socialist crap, the media always 'run out of time' when it gets to talk about the actual facts.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    who this economy has blessed

    Um...

  • Sevo||

    (touches tips of fingers to forehead)
    I see many former New York residents 'living' in FL!

  • Slocum||

    It's almost as hard to renounce your New York residency as it is your U.S. citizenship (and for similar reasons).

  • perlchpr||

    Seems dangerous for the NY auditor fuckwads. Once they're in FL, they can buy guns. Fucking with them seems stupid.

  • Midnightrider||

    The problem with that is they want to start the things that made them leave ny in the first place.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    over 120 percent of national median income (which would be about $70,000 here in the United States),

    According to Ocasio-Cortez, that figure is around $20,000.

  • JWatts||

    Well, you know, it will be. After a few years of Socialism.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Cynthia Nixon wants-

    Stop right there.

  • BillyG||

    At worst, it's a craven attempt to win office using bait-and-switch plans that won't actually deliver what progressive candidates promise.

    This seems to be the Standard Operating Procedure for these candidates. Promise the moon and deliver hell.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    To be sure, it is virtually all candidates.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    I thought a current NYer in the Whitehouse was an example of why you don't elect non-politicians to political positions? At least that's what my lefty friends say.

    Of course the same friends support Cortez. Who is not a politician.

  • Brian||

    They have the right feelz. That makes up for everything.

  • BikeRider||

    It seems that every time the left says that they are "taxing the rich" it ends up being "screw the middle class" because (as the article points out) there aren't enough rich people. I find myself increasingly in disagreement with Republicans and the political right, but I'm certainly not going to join the other side when they've made it clear that they're out to take more and more of my money.

    For the record: We're a family of four in the Midwest with a household income in the mid-$120s. That's comfortable in my community but far from rich and I worked many years to get my income this high.
    * Obamacare's medical FSA limits raised my taxes.
    * Trump's SALT limits are raising my taxes (even after the marginal rate changes).
    * In a good year, I max out Social Security for my last one or two paychecks. It's not a lot of money, but it's nice to get that boost in take-home pay at the end of the year. Now they're talking about eliminating the SS income limit to get more money from "the rich". Financial advisers tell me to expect $0 in Social Security income so I'll be paying even more into a system that might give me nothing.
    * There's talk of changing the rules on IRAs and Roth IRAs because "the rich" are getting too much benefit. If the rules change, I'm willing to bet that they'll hit me.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    529s, 401ks, then negative interest rates on cash/savings...

  • Number 2||

    Remember, Mr. Rider.

    When the current federal income tax was first enacted, Woodrow Wilson promised that only the wealthiest 2-4% would pay it, and Theodore Roosevelt promised that the federal government would never, ever tax wages and salaries. It only took 30 years or so for the feds not only to tax wages and salaries, but to take it straight out of paychecks.

    In the late 1960s, the alternative minimum tax was enacted to account for forty "rich" people who got away with paying no taxes that year. 40 people. Today, nearly half of taxpayers who pay income taxes are hit with the AMT.

    In 1990s New Jersey, Gov. Jim Florio ran on and enacted a "tax the rich" program. People earning $50,000/yr., then the salary of a cop or schoolteacher, were stunned to discover that Florio considered them to be "rich people." The resulting backlash gave the GOP control of the NJ Legislature for nearly a decade.

    Whenever someone starts talking about "taxing the rich," guard your wallet.

  • perlchpr||

    Whenever someone starts talking about "taxing the rich," guard your wallet.

    They mean, "anyone who doesn't eat ramen, and even some of them".

  • Hamster of Doom||

    You Know Who Else Caused Student Loan Debt and High Healthcare Prices?

    Gather 'round, my pets. It's story time. Now, herein one won't find the laser-like precision of a Mercatus study; this is a story.

    Once upon a time, some little man with a mustache didn't make it as an artist. One thing led to another and before you know it, Bob's your uncle, America's smack-dab in the middle of a labor crisis just when manufacturing was rather crucial.

    Employers did as employers are wont to do when faced with a critical undersupply of skilled labor. They shopped around better wages to attract the few adults left - what with the able-bodied men being off fighting a war and all that - who might be able to fill the position.

    Now, let's say you're a customer looking to place an order for a billion bullets. Rising labor costs are going to put a hell of a crimp in your budget, aren't they. Whoo boy, that billion bullets is awful expensive to produce when the labor force has been hollowed out. Better step in and regulate the market for it's own good. Doesn't the market know there's a war on!

    Enter the Stabilization Act of 1942.

    Three-second version: Price controls. Wage controls. Something something central grand plan that'll totally work this time for the greater good.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    The short-term long-term result was to incentivize job benefits. Really incentivize them. All the ways an employer could pay an employee without actually paying an employee became a popular end-run around the legislation meant to stabilize prices. Things such as, oh, say, healthcare.

    The long-term long-term result was that the employee was no longer the customer when the employee sought healthcare. Healthcare was funded by Other People's Money. That was now a thing. A story, a new cultural norm, had entered folks' heads, and when the menfolk came back people decided they kinda liked it. Employers paid insurance companies, and insurance companies paid doctors, and that was just how it worked. Maybe it felt a bit like getting something for free by everyone all around. Maybe some narrators are just disgusting cynics. Who knows.

    After a generation or so (this is very -ish *wobbles hand back and forth*) prices began to be a bit steep on the employer side. But that's fine, that's fine. No problem. If the employers can't tell the employees how much it costs to give out these non-wage wages, then there isn't really a problem. Everything's still working, after all.

    The employers didn't just eat these increasing costs, though. Obviously. When the cost to provide non-wage wages rise, then to maintain or slightly increase the total compensation package, tell the class what has to decrease. That's right. Wage wages.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    After a few promotion cycles, we weren't making as much money as we might have expected. It still felt like we were making as much money, we could buy things, go to the doctor. Everything was still working. So it continued.

    Another new priority for employers: youth. Young people are extremely cheap to insure. It's practically pointless to insure young people's health, they're not often sick and they haven't had time to accumulate many assets to protect. So cheap. So delightfully cheap, it's almost worth that young people are generally useless albeit eager, and sometimes not even that.

    You know, if healthcare costs for employers rise enough, it could theoretically create a strong incentive toward a means by which to sift the young idiots for productive potential.

    And from that day to this, everything continued as long as it still worked. Only more so. Until what Britches wrote about Cynthia Nixon appears before us today.

    *sigh* Goddamned Hitler.

  • Aloysious||

    Once upon a time, some little man with a mustache...

    Charlie Chaplin?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Yosemite Sam?

  • Rat on a train||

    Herve Villechaize?

  • Brian||

    Denmark's top marginal income tax bracket of 60 percent kicks in for income earners making over 120 percent of national median income (which would be about $70,000 here in the United States), and the country charges a 25 percent value added (sales) tax.

    That sounds like fun!

    Sign me up to start paying that and receiving nothing back whatsoever!

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    "Well, if economic laws get in the way of the democratic socialist program, we'll just repeal those laws!"

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Montgomery Scott shakes his head.

  • Rat on a train||

    The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.

  • John||

    I know she is dumb as a post. And she dumped her husband to become a lesbian, and not a lipstick kind. Her girlfriend looks like Danny Bonaducci's fat older brother. But, I still Cynthia is kind of hot.

  • DesigNate||

    There were times on Sex and the City that she was imminently fuckable.

    Kristin Davis was always hotter in my book though.

  • John||

    Kristin Davis was a goddess. She was far and away the hottest woman on that show and really the hottest woman on TV at the time.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    She looke awesome on Melrose Place too. Always wanted a threesome with her and Laura Leighton.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    "imminently"?

    Still waiting. Wood not.

  • rocks||

    Let liberal NYC go the way of Detroit, the rest of the state will rejoice.

  • Dillinger||

    somebody tell him white jackets after labor day are no-no

  • NoVaNick||

    At least Nixon is honest here in admitting that these programs cost a lot of money. For a long time, progs would not say how they planned to pay for the free shit they promised, or would hike taxes on things like cigarettes, expecting that revenue to pay for universal preschool or other programs, which it can't even come close to covering.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    They pay for themselves, in future dollars of loves improved. Ponseus economic theory.

  • Longtobefree||

    Nice typo

  • Bill||

    Is that a typo? The top income rate in NY is 8.82% ??

  • Antilles||

    That seems low. The top rate in California is 13.3%. I'm only middle-class and I pay nearly 10%.

  • Fairbanks||

    To be in the 10% bracket in CA you have to have taxable income of $270,000 if you're a single filer or $537,000 married. You may not be rich but you're not middle class. That's top 1%.

  • Mark22||

    She is the kind of governor New York deserves. I hope she wins!

  • creech||

    Ditto. No reason most of millionaires couldn't live in, say, Milford, PA, and do the bulk of their work by electronic means. Maybe come into NYC once a week and, like a ball player, only pay NYC tax on the days actually present working in NYC. Wouldn't take long for some awesome restaurants to spring up in the Poconos. (PA has a flat income tax of only 3.07%, but Gov. Wolf (D) along with an acquiescent GOP controlled legislature, would love to make it graduated.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    I bet Milford PA doesn't even have one Michilen start restaurant...

  • creech||

    You want to avoid high taxes or eat some fancy Frog food? And Scranton, with its famous Schroot Beet Restaurant isn't that far away.

  • Hank Phillips||

    A FLAT income tax? How egregiously un-Marxist!

  • Fats of Fury||

    According to Cuomo logic, America won't be great again until you elect people like her.

  • Rockabilly||

    Fuck her and her boy friend Tricky Dick Nixon.

  • blondrealist||

    Cynthia Nixon's ignorance about the economics of taxes (or economics in general) is telling, but certainly not shocking.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Her #fixthesubway plan would rely in part on a millionaire's tax.

    Make them pay for their preferred mode of transportation?

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    You can tell millionaires don't pay their fair share in taxes because they're still millionaires afterwards.

    /proglodyte

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Hope she's not in NY then.

  • Uncle Jay||

    Ms. Nixon's agenda is to bring back "Sex in the City," only with hamsters this time.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Starring Richard Gere?

  • Uncle Jay||

    Nixon has no problem redistributing other people's money and spending as she pleases.
    After all, Sachs Fifth Avenue and Macy's items are expensive.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The very fact that her solutions are based on altruism, and require the initiation of force is proof that her heart is in the right place. Surely no religious conservative can oppose a position where charity, altruism, and responsibilities are more important than rights, right?

  • Social Justice is neither||

    I know. Government is just the things we decide to do together...like murder Eric Gardner over a bit of tax revenue. Such altruism.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Uhm if you have to mandate it, it isn't charity or altruistic. Also, the Bible is pretty clear on this, charity has to be freely given out of love for your fellow man, not because "Rome" has dictated that you have to pay it or else!

  • Uncle Jay||

    What did you expect from someone whose name is Nixon?

  • Salero21||

    Little Cynthia, just another COMMIE, Con, and Crook.
    If the 'Crats were at least half decent and honest with themselves, they would all run in 2020 as what they really are, Socialists. That will allow Bernie, Chucky, Corey, Cuomo, Cynthia, de Blasio, Gillibrand, Lizzie, Kamala, Pelousy, Maxine, Alexandria, and others to run as what they really are... Commies.

  • zombietimeshare||

    "Cynthia Nixon wants millionaires to pay their fair share of taxes. Also, Cynthia Nixon does not know how much millionaires pay in taxes already."

    -- Well, the millionaires will just have to get a second job to help pay for her plans.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Indeed, countries like the Denmark and Sweden manage to pay for their welfare states only through higher rates of taxation applied to a very broad base of people.

    Are the income and wealth distributions as skewed in the nordic countries as they are in the U.S.? If not, maybe that could explain why those nations need a broad distribution of the tax burden.

    Whenever government must tax—no matter in which nation—government has no choice but to do its taxing where the money is. In the U.S., that means taxing the very wealthy, very much, because that's where the lion's share of the money not required for food, clothing, shelter, etc. has ended up. Maybe in the nordic countries it isn't like that. If there is a more even distribution of wealth and income, then generous social programs there could be funded by a more even distribution of taxes than could be accomplished here.

    Some folks don't like to reckon with the simple fact that national patterns of taxation must match national patterns of wealth distribution. Folks who feel that way too often try to make it a moral principle to denounce taxation. Far better to focus on, and repair, skewed patterns of wealth distribution which make it impossible to accomplish taxation on a basis better approximating equality.

  • soldiermedic76||

    What the fuck? How do you fix wealth redistribution? Are you also going to be sitting up Madame Guillotine in Madison Square?
    The reason the wealthy pay the majority of taxes is because it would be political suicide for politicians to evenly tax all Americans.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    How do you fix wealth redistribution?

    A question to which literally thousands of answers are possible.

    For instances:

    1. It is now beyond question that affirmative action for black people has improved their economic lot. So keep doing that, at least until it is no longer possible by judging their skin color to rank the family wealth shared by black infants in the maternity ward. Managing affirmative action more tightly, and more fairly, could improve its political acceptability.

    2. Subject all personal income, from whatever source, and of whatever kind, to equal taxation under the Social Security laws. Spend the proceeds on doing more of what Social Security already does.

    3. Increase corporate taxation to levels which proved sustainable in previous eras when wealth distribution was more equal. Spend the proceeds on public goods which enable capitalist success, such as education and infrastructure.

    4. Enforce more vigorously the laws against monopoly, and add whatever new laws might prove wise and helpful to further encourage a system of capitalism in which competition among a multiplicity of private businesses may gain ascendance over the current tendency toward consolidation among businesses. Consolidation may or may not increase total wealth, but it usually or always narrows access to wealth.

    No shortage of things to do.

  • Brian||

    So, what you're saying is, once we solve income inequality, we can all enjoy paying higher taxes.

    Can you guarantee me that's a win?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    No guarantee, because I don't know what you value.

    I suggest it's highly likely that a majority of Americans would consider it a win. I make that estimate based on having lived through an era where wealth and income were not so radically skewed as they now are. Resentment of the political system was far less at that time than it is today.

  • Brian||

    Have you considered that, perhaps, you're confusing cause and effect? That is, a society that's A-OK with a ~60% tax rate kicking in at ~$70k is a society that's giving up more than half of its ability to be socially mobile, and, as result, wealth and income will be more equally distributed because of how much extra earned income people are forking over to the government? It's hard to save your money when the feds are taking most of it.

    As resentful as some people might be at inequality, I'm not shocked that everyone isn't thrilled to live in a society like that. Especially people who are quite capable of earning more than the basics.

  • Duelles||

    They - the government - over reaches through regulations, and benefit programs, subsidies, grants, etc. they do not need the money they think they need because they do not need to do all the massive shit spending they do.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    That could all be true without altering in the slightest the need to match patterns of taxation to patterns of wealth and income.

  • Brian||

    Matching patterns of wealth and income with taxes sounds nice. I do notice, however, that a flat tax of X% taxes relatively large incomes proportionally more than relatively smaller incomes. One could argue that such a tax matches income proportionately.

    I don't think that's what you have in mind. Perhaps there's more to it?

  • NashTiger||

    they just write it off


    [/Kramer]

  • tlapp||

    And the fools buy in and vote for this believing someone else will pay until they learn that we are all someone else to each other. Then you end up with a take what we give you and pay what we charge you system with no alternatives and a mediocre existence of dependency with almost no opportunity for upward mobility.

    Sad there are so many naïve gullible people. Our public education is an utter failure.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Failure to agree with your policy preferences is not even slight evidence of gullibility, nor of a failed education system.

    I also question whether you have anything persuasive on the question of whether opportunity for upward mobility is better if wealth and income patterns are radically skewed than if they are otherwise.

  • Brian||

    I don't understand how we expect people to be upwardly mobile when we immediately start trying to distribute their income away from them the second they make more money than average.

  • Duelles||

    That sounds expensive," Nixon said of her education plan to the Wall Street Journal. "You know what? It is, and it should be. We can do it by requiring that millionaires, and billionaires and corporations, who this economy has blessed, pay their fair share for all of our children."
    Why have children you can't afford? Finish school, stay off drugs and don't have kids before you're married. Far too many single parent households begin as single mothers. Stupid way to live.

  • Longtobefree||

    "She said she worries there could be a breaking point where the wealthy decide to leave the state, but doesn't believe New York has hit that situation yet."

    In other news today, New York City no longer has the largest number of residents worth $30 million or more.

    http://fortune.com/2018/09/06/ new-york-hong-kong-ultra-rich-wealthx/

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    But....but.....she's a Sex In The City STAR!

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