Elizabeth Warren

Why Elizabeth Warren's Wealth Tax Won't Work

Elizabeth Warren says her "ultra-millionaire tax" will raise $2.75 trillion. History says otherwise.

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Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren wants the federal government to provide free health care for every American, child care for every parent, college for every student who wants it, and housing for low-income families. And she wants to pay for it all with a new tax on the richest of the rich. She calls it the "ultra-millionaire tax."

Skimming a bit more off the top of the bank accounts of the ultra-wealthy might sound like a good deal for working- and middle-class Americans. But the reality is that wealth taxes have been tried before, and they haven't worked the way Warren promises. 

Warren wants to levy a 2 percent annual wealth tax on all households with a net worth of over $50 million and a 3 percent annual tax on those households with a net worth of more than $1 billion. Unlike an income tax or a sales tax, both of which tax money when it moves around, a wealth tax draws on the same pot of money every year, making the pile smaller and smaller over time. It's essentially a tax on large savings—the money that investors and entrepreneurs rely on to start new businesses. 

Unlike Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.), Warren has never said that the very existence of billionaires is immoral, but her plan to tax 2 to 3 percent of their wealth on an annual basis is clearly motivated, at least in part, by a desire to reduce their wealth and what she perceives as a power imbalance in our society. The economists who helped Warren design her plan have said that the idea is to make rich people less wealthy: "If very rich people have to pay a percentage of their wealth in taxes each year, it makes it harder for them to maintain their wealth." Analyzing her plan, they wrote that one of its "key motivations" is "to curb the growing concentration of wealth."

So this isn't really about raising tax revenue. It's about using government power to make sure rich people have less. Still, Warren often pitches her plan as a way to raise money to pay for more government entitlements. And on that count, it's likely to fall short. 

Warren says her tax plan will raise $2.75 trillion over a 10-year period. But other countries have tried wealth taxes and found that they raise far less money than expected.

In 1990, there were 12 OECD nations with wealth taxes similar to Warren's. Today, only four remain. Though politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) praise Denmark and Sweden as paragons of democratic socialism that the U.S. should emulate, both nixed their wealth taxes in the '90s because too many rich citizens were just pulling their money out of the country. This capital flight resulted in lower rates of entrepreneurship and relative economic stagnation. 

Not only did the wealth tax hurt the economy, but it didn't even raise the money it was supposed to. When Sweden eliminated its wealth tax, it had virtually no effect on government finances, according to the Financial Times.

France tried a wealth tax for more than a decade, starting in 2000. That helped push an estimated 42,000 millionaires out of the country. They didn't pay the tax—they just left.

Warren wants to get around the capital flight problem by taxing the money no matter where in the world it's located and imposing a 40 percent exit tax on anyone in this category who wants to renounce his or her citizenship.

This part of the plan relies on hiring more IRS agents, partly to deal with the complexity of evaluating total individual wealth. But throwing more tax collectors at the problem isn't going to change the fact that the wealthy are very good at protecting their money by offshoring it or putting into unique, hard-to-value assets like artwork. Austria is another country that used to have a wealth tax. One reason it dropped the tax was because the cost of enforcement was so high.

Given its failure in other countries, and her outlandish and vague proposals for addressing those failures, there is no compelling evidence that Warren's "ultra-millionaire tax" will raise the revenue she claims.

The wealth tax is best understood not as a targeted revenue raiser, but as a symbolic declaration of opposition to the existence of outsized wealth, regardless of how it was obtained. Warren has described her tax as a tool for addressing inequality, but it's really just a presidential candidate's way of saying, "I oppose the existence of very rich people." She could have just said it.

Watch the full video above. The original article upon which this video was based is available here.

Produced by John Osterhoudt, based on an article by Peter Suderman.

Additional graphics by Josh Swain.

Photo of Sen. Warren; credit: F. Carter Smith/Polaris/Newscom

Photo of Sen. Warren; credit: Richard Ellis/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Photo of Sen. Warren; credit: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Newscom

Photo of Sen. Warren; credit: Derrick Salters/WENN.com/Newscom

Photo of Sen. Warren; credit: Brian Cahn/ZUMA Wire/Newscom

Photo of Sen.'s Warren and Sanders; credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom

Photo of Perry Mansion; credit: CelebrityHomePhotos/Newscom

Photo of IRS Sign; credit: Molly Riley/McClatchy DC/TNS/Newscom

Photo of Fredensborg Palace, Denmark; credit: hbgbild/MEGA/Newscom

Photo of Malmo City Library, Sweden; credit: Armand Tamboly/robertharding/Newscom

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  1. well she certainly doesn’t work, so why should her policies?

    1. People confusing “having a plan for that” with “having a plan that might actually work”.

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        1. Excellent illustration of exactly what CE was talking about.

    2. Why do pols automatically think that because a person has a lot of money that their tax rate should go up? The rich get no more services from governments than others, so which tax them more, especially when on realizes that a lot of OTHER PEOPLE have had jobs, more money, etc. because of these rich guys!! How many people have jobs BECAUSE of rich people? Answer: A shit load. The last thing we want is to drive out those who come up with new products, services, etc. that employ others, and that is EXACTLY what a wealth tax will do.

      1. At some basic level, most people look at a rich person and think ‘he has more then I do, that isn’t fair.’. Very few look at what the rich person DOES. Is it unfair that an NFL star makes so much money? How much money would they have to pay YOU to take a single NFL – level tackle? Is it unfair that a high level CEO gets so much money? How much would they have to pay YOU to be effectively on call 24/7/365? Even if I had the musical talent (and I don’t) there isn’t enough money in the Pop Star business to get me to do the kind of grueling work that goes into touring with a megaband.

        Politicians are a slightly separate case. Many of them – and surely most of the Progressives – KNOW that they are wonderful, special people. And they all have so MANY wonderful plans…surely it must be ok to take money from less-wonderful rich people to bring those plans to fruition…

        I remember an interview with one of The Rolling Stones, who was asked if he resented the changes in how the music industry worked that meant he was no longer making so much money. He (and I wish I remembered which one) replied that he felt very, very lucky to have come along almost at the beginning of a short period when it was possible for a band like theirs to get so rich. It didn’t happen much before, amd now it wasn’t happening, once again. So he felt lucky.

        Smart man.

        1. And you’re just talking about the entertainers and CEOs of major corporations who would be hit by this particular policy plan. The left also likes to rail against the “1%”, which is a much larger group of people. It includes pretty much anyone who is near the top of their field. Top engineers, scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs etc. would all fall into the 1% label. Anyone who thinks those people don’t earn their money is a lunatic.

  2. Although Warren is consistently in my top 2 2020 candidates (along with Kamala Harris) I admit I do not currently support the “ultra-millionaire tax.” Ultra-millionaires, including billionaires, should keep as much of their money as possible. Especially since so many of them use it to fund libertarian causes, like the Koch Brothers’ open borders advocacy or Tom Steyer’s impeachment campaign.

    #BillionairesKnowBest

    1. Hey, if they want to waste it, it just goes back into the economy.

      I can’t imagine Tom Steyer has done anything worth impeaching him over. In fact, I had no idea who he was until five seconds ago. Still don’t, really, other than the name.

      1. “I can’t imagine Tom Steyer has done anything worth impeaching him over. In fact, I had no idea who he was until five seconds ago. Still don’t, really, other than the name.”

        Steyer has made bundles pitching ‘green’ business bullshit to ‘concerned’ investors and spent quite a bit of it backing pols who believe in that same bullshit.
        IOWs, he’s done exactly what the Koch brothers are accused of doing.

    2. wow, something you disagree with the Democratic contenders on!

  3. The economists who helped Warren design her plan have said that the idea is to make rich people less wealthy: “If very rich people have to pay a percentage of their wealth in taxes each year, it makes it harder for them to maintain their wealth.” Analyzing her plan, they wrote that one of its “key motivations” is “to curb the growing concentration of wealth.”

    Thus, even if the tax works exactly as planned, the revenue raised will shrink as time goes on. So it might serve as a way to enact socialist-style revenge upon people who are “too rich”, it certainly won’t pay for all the free stuff Warren wants to give out.

    1. We have billionaires when the median income is around $60K/year.

      The prog hive would prefer no billionaires, and a median income of around $20K/year (if we’re lucky).

      1. Oh, don’t kid yourself. The median income will probably be around $100,000 a year…in money that is worth about $10,000 in today’s dollars.

        1. But what would it be in Bitcoin?

    2. They would tie it to non inflation indexed numbers like the AMT. It will eventually hit everyone.

      1. And then, when it hits everyone, they’ll turn around and say “But we need to make it a progressive tax, so it hits the richest harder!”

        Kind of like they did with the income tax.

    3. Seriously?
      She actually had economists look at here plan and these economists actually believe it is workable?
      My 12 year old could look at her plan and ask. Where is the money coming from, yet these economists were not capable of actually asking the same question.
      Why is no-one asking the obvious question.
      If you tax the rich, what is the likelihood they will stick around to wait for people like Warrant or any of the other loony leftists to take there money off them.
      The vast majority of them will take their wealth with them to sunnier climes where they can keep far more of their money.
      Leftist will gain none of these tax revenues they are planning on taking and will almost certainly lose the taxes these millionaires currently pay.
      These leftist are serious dumb fucks as well as the pathetic 5th grade economists they employ.

  4. Here we have a tax proposal whose overtly stated purpose is thievery and enforcement can only be arbitrary.

    Stop trying to play on people’s envy, Warren. It is an ugly and destructive motivation.

    1. Unfortunately, people who fall for this “stick it to the man” type of politics don’t realize that they’ll end up getting stuck harder as a result.

      1. Well, most of them eventually do learn, as they vote in socialism, communism, fascism, i.e., more government control, and reap the “rewards” of having the government take your stuff. The biggest free market advocates I’ve met, have lived in such countries.

    2. Well, she’s an ugly and destructive person.

    3. I think envy is the key word. It occurs to be that anytime someone complains about economic inequality, the proposed solution is ALWAYS reducing the wealth near the top rather than increasing the wealth of those near the bottom by encouraging them to earn more.

      It would be like me observing how fast someone like Usain Bolt can run and, instead of training so I can run faster, I’d instead have someone injure the guy so he limps going forward and is no longer able to run as fast.

      If that isn’t a seriously fucked up attitude to harbor towards one fellow humans, then I don’t know what is.

  5. How is a tax on wealth not double taxation? You paid tax when you acquired it, you will pay tax when you use it. Taxing money that is not in motion also seems like a new type of tax not authorized by the Constitution.

    1. You buy consumer goods with taxed income, and pay sales tax on that. This worry about double taxation is wasted.

      1. The fact that we’re already double-taxed doesn’t make triple-taxation right or just.

        1. Get it straight: there is no fair, right, or just tax. It’s always taken via force, and it’s an evil practice. The thing is, it’s a necessary evil because we need government to deal with people (good and evil) who harm others. The moral thing to do, is to minimize government to reduce the evil it does.

          Don’t support government doing “good”, because it never does when it starts by taking the fruits of peoples’ labor.

      2. We are way past double taxation, in fact we already have a wealth tax on anybody who saves or invests. If you don’t subtract the rate of inflation from dividend tax and capital gains on money market account interest, CD interest, stocks, bonds or any other equity, it is a wealth tax in every sense of the word. This is probably a good reason why the fed is doing everything in it’s power to cause inflation and devalue savings.

        1. No, taxes on interest or stock appreciation is, at least, taxing newly-earned money. A “wealth” tax would tax not only any estimated appreciation of assets but also the original, already-taxed money used to purchase the assets. So it would truly be double taxation in just the first year and would be multiple taxations in subsequent years. Screw Warren – typical age-old ploy of seeking votes by promising free stuff to the unproductive many at the expense of the productive few. She and Bernie need to move to the socialist haven called Venezuela and live their dream.

    2. Someone made a point a while ago about double taxation that I thought was at least worth consideration. The contention was that it’s really irrelevant. Money isn’t taxed, transactions are.
      Not sure if I agree entirely, but it makes some sense when applied to income taxes. But a wealth tax does seem like real double taxation since, as you point out, it’s taxing money that isn’t in motion.

    3. “Taxing money that is not in motion also seems like a new type of tax not authorized by the Constitution.”

      I like the idea of taxing stagnant money. Currency is current. It moves with the times. It should be facilitating exchanges that benefit everyone, rather than sitting idle being watch over by scroogelike billionaires.

      1. You understand that billionaires don’t actually keep large piles of gold stacked in vaults, right?

        1. They do now. They found that stacking their gold on their front lawns invited trouble.

          1. You realize someone had to have piles of cash in banks to actually have liquidity, right?

            1. No, no he doesn’t. He seems to think they are horsing it like some mythical pirate.

        2. “You understand that billionaires don’t actually keep large piles of gold stacked in vaults, right?”

          That’s trueman; you get bullshit or sophistry. He is incapable of offering anything else:
          mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
          “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”

      2. How cute. You dont think wealth is tied in investment capital. How precious.

        1. Why should wealth be tied? Again, this is contrary to the notion of currency. In a healthy economy wealth should circulate, a movement that works to the benefit of everyone.

          1. Savings are what allows banks to make loans. Without savings, banks would have nothing to back their loans and investments. This would stop all currency flowing.

            1. “Savings are what allows banks to make loans. ”

              The debt, public and private has never been higher. Where are these savings?

              1. People who think like you are incentivizing them to spend. You literally just said that money in motion is a good in itself and savings are bad. Keep up with your own bullshit, man.

                1. “You literally just said…”

                  I said the money of billionaires that is ‘not in motion’ is an ideal target for taxation. If you disagree, you are free to state your case.

                  1. No, we are pointing out that it is in motion dumbfuck. It allows banks to make loans and investments. The bank can only loan asuch money as assets, i.e. bank and savings accounts, that it has. Therefore, you tax the savings of the wealthy and banks have less capital to loan, small businesses go out of business and the economy crashes.

                    1. I was responding to TraderVicky who raised the topic of taxing money that is not in motion. If you have any problems with his ideas, take it up with him. You also need to familiarize yourself with banking practice, before I start to take the heat for your ignorance.

                    2. O have explained banking practices to you multiple times. You are the one who keeps spouting ignorance. You have been corrected multiple times about your assertions, yet continue to spout the same exact non-sense.

                    3. Let me take the money you are saving just because it is in your possession is authoritarianism of the highest order.

                    4. “”I was responding to TraderVicky who raised the topic of taxing money that is not in motion. If you have any problems with his ideas,””

                      I’ve never suggested taxing money not in motion. I merely pointed out that doing so is not authorized by the Constitution.

                      Taxes on money you put in the bank that is in motion by other entities, is not a tax on you. Unless you profit on that motion.

              2. So your answer is to destroy one of the key driver’s of investments, thus destroying the economy?

              3. Also, the fact that private debt is up indicates banks are making loans, thus the savings are in motion. Thanks for proving my point.

                1. That’s trueman; you get bullshit or sophistry. He is incapable of offering anything else:
                  mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
                  “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”

          2. Banks dont sit on money as soldier medic mentioned. Companies use stock to provide investment capital and allow capital into their businesses. The wealthy tend to put their funds into one of these investments. They will also buy assets, but these get traded often and circulate money.

            You do know the basics of our system… dont you?

            1. “The wealthy tend to put their funds into one of these investments. ”

              Are you saying this money shoulfn’t be subject to taxation?

              1. No, he is staying you don’t understand the basics of economy. You tax savings and investments at to high a rate, it kills the economy ask the French, the Danes, the Swedes and everyone else who tried this and abandoned it for the very reasons we’re staying.

                1. So it should be taxed, just not too highly.

                  1. No, since it’s already been taxed once, then it shouldn’t be taxed at all. Unless you feel that no one has a right to private property. That everything we own is actually owned by the government. Is this your contention? And BTW the interest can be taxed already.

                    1. “That everything we own is actually owned by the government. Is this your contention?”

                      It is not. My contention is that governments tax, but they shouldn’t, but they do. As long as they do, they might as well tax the rich who have more money than the poor.

                      I can’t understand your reasoning about private property. Why is it OK with you for the government to tax it once but not again?

                    2. Because, taxing it again implies that the government ultimately owns it not yourself. You completely understand my point you just don’t like the fact that people are richer than you and you seem perfectly okay to have the government correct this. Also, the rich already pay far more taxes than the poor. Stop spouting falsehoods or implying facts that are actually false.

                    3. That’s trueman; you get bullshit or sophistry. He is incapable of offering anything else:
                      mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
                      “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”

      3. How is more government bloat and waste “benefiting everyone”?

        1. Exchange in a market system benefits everyone. Don’t ask me how, it’s to do with invisible hands and such.

          1. And the wealthy, even with savings, do the most exchanges.

          2. Your economic ignorance is breathtaking. The invisible hands dont exist to force people into markets.

            1. That’s what governments do. Your political ignorance is astounding.

              1. It isn’t a legitimate function of government, even if they do it. They are not granted that power in the Constitution, which does forbid them from seizing powers that are not theirs to seize.

              2. Governments are stationary bandits. Most libertarians are familiar with this idea.
                Their only true utility is protection from other bandits , both the individual type and the governmental type. And even that utility is overrated nowadays as modern economies are not as easily looted by roving bandit armies like in the past.

              3. Prior to aca name a compelled government market transaction.

                1. Taxes for schools…but pretty much taxes for anything.

              4. mtrueman
                July.21.2019 at 2:32 pm
                “That’s what governments do. Your political ignorance is astounding.”

                That’s trueman; you get bullshit or sophistry. He is incapable of offering anything else:
                mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
                “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”

                1. That’s trueman; you get bullshit or sophistry. He is incapable of offering anything else:
                  mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
                  “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”

            2. It’s a waste of time discussing economics with someone as ignorant as mtrueman. It’s like discussing economics with…Elizabeth Warren.

      4. never heard of savings huh?

        a system can’t rely on kinetic energy alone. it needs some potential energy.

        imagine a battery powered electric car. now take away the battery.

          1. So do basic economic principles. Savings help the economy.b

            1. Debt, both public and private has never been higher. I don’t see where these savings are.

              1. Obviously those without debt or less debt. And my point is that savings leads to loans and credit cards. This private debt indicates that their is enough savings in banks for banks to feel confident issuing credit to others.

                1. Are you saying that debt to banks must be less than savings in banks? I think you should study up a little more on banking and finance. Also in this case, it’s ‘there.’ English is complicated.

                  1. No I am starting that banks must have a basis from which to lend. They may, like anyone else, lend on credit but they must first have enough capital to convince others to trust them enough to do business with them. Also, correcting a simple grammar error does nothing to disprove my point. It does however, demonstrate that you would rather nitpick then actually prove your point.

              2. “I don’t see where these savings are.”

                It’s the thing you want to tax. Aren’t you paying attention to your own argument?

      5. “I like the idea of taxing stagnant money”

        I’m sure you do. Turning you r greedy progressive eyes towards what isn’t yours, and coveting.

        1. Is your money stagnant? I can help you with that.

          1. Money 8s never stagnant as I have explained to you multiple times

          2. That’s trueman; you get bullshit or sophistry. He is incapable of offering anything else:
            mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
            “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”

      6. “” It should be facilitating exchanges that benefit everyone,””

        This totally ignores that money is property of the holder. Your property is for the purpose benefiting everyone else. If you don’t agree please send everyone her at Hit and Run $100. It’s not your money and we have a right to claim it.

        1. Not for the purpose of benefiting everyone else.

    4. Indeed. Time to show progressives the door. Force them out of America.

      1. What if they return as black somalians?

        1. I wouldn’t be bringing Islamic refugees here. Plenty of other places in the world for them.

          1. “I wouldn’t be bringing Islamic refugees here.”

            USA is not such a bad place for refugees. It’s rich and large and has a friendly, welcoming population. Can you think of a better country for refugees and asylum seekers?

            1. It’s welcoming as long as you respect it’s culture and traditions.

                1. Wrong. I was stating it is, it’s is the proper contraction. Before you fucking correct other’s grammar maybe make sure you are right asshole.

                2. I know English is a complicated language, as you so snarkly pointed out.

                  1. Mtrueman is correct on the grammar. Too bad he’s so very wrong on fundamental economics.

            2. It’s rich because we have so far avoided schemes like what Warren proposes.

              If she implements all her crazy ideas, I guarantee the border crisis would disappear in short order as US unemployment skyrockets.

              1. Perfect time to send the buggers back.

        2. “”What if they return as black somalians?””

          Well then I suspect the will fight it out with knives at the train station.

    5. also consider how much ‘wealth’ is in financial instruments that are ultimately just claims on future cash flows. Is one expected to pay the ‘wealth tax’ on the present value and then income taxes on the actual amount received each year?

      1. So your answer is to destroy one of the key driver’s of investments, thus destroying the economy?

        1. The progs would love to do this. The last twenty years of Venezuelan history is not a cautionary tale for them. It’s a how-to guide.

      2. Damn squirrels. I meant to post: let’s not mention that the majority of “wealth” is not liquid assets but rather commodities and investments. This tax would require the selling off of these goods, leading to price depression and probably a market crash.

        1. plus the immediate drop in asset values when you capitalize the new annual cost of ownership that is the wealth tax

          1. “Capitalize new annual cost of ownership that is the wealth tax” . Stop making it too complicated for the socialists!!

            Rich people have more than poor people. Take from rich and give to poor and now we are all better with less inequality. Simple , right? /sarc

      3. “” Is one expected to pay the ‘wealth tax’ on the present value and then income taxes on the actual amount received each year?””

        Exactly.

    6. You receive money, it gets taxed, you spend money it gets taxed. Money is taxed largely in movement. Where has money be taxed when it is not moving?

      1. What? Have you been a renter all your life? Or do you live with Mom and Dad? There’s a little thing call real estate tax that exists for almost every place in the US.

        1. I have been a renter all my life.

          Good point asshole.

    7. How is a tax on wealth not double taxation?

      A lot of money is taxed multiple times. Welcome to the real world!

  6. I see this article came back from the dead, minus its original two comments.

  7. I’m sorry, but every American doesn’t deserve free healthcare.

    I’ve met them, and a lot of them are assholes.

    1. Pedo Jeffy doesn’t. Neither do Tony or Buttplug. Let them die in the street if they get sick.

      By rights, each of them should take their own lives anyway.

  8. Lizzie may have other motivations for a wealth tax on the ultra rich, but mainly she shares the insight (and morals) of Al Capone.

    1. How dare you besmirch the good name of Al Capone.

    2. In her autobiography, she rants about how evil the banks are because when she was growing up, her parents were drunks with shaky work histories. When one of them lost their job die to their drinking it was the bank’s fault when the bank repoed one of their two cars, and when they almost had their home foreclosed.

      So now banks have to be punished because they lent money to her unreliable alcoholic parents.

  9. Once again, Warren proves that she never met a tax she didn’t like. And, of course, as she will never admit, the taxes will, eventually, be paid by middle-class Americans, either in higher prices, or, for the retired, by higher prices and shrinking investment income. But as long as she and her cronies get reelected, it’s all okay. (sigh)

  10. It wont work because it is unconstitutional…

    https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/elizabeth-warren-wealth-tax-unconstitutional/

    How is this not even mentioned?

    1. When has that every stopped any politician with any policy?

      1. It depends how much leftist d.c. media can shame john Roberts. Otherwise good point.

  11. I have a RIGHT to have government force other people to pay for my basic needs! And some wants too. Haha

    Yeah, she ugly. Is she that soccer players mom?

  12. “and imposing a 40% exit tax on anyone in this category who wants to renounce his or her citizenship”

    Man, she’s really gonna scalp those folks.

    And there’s roughly 2 1/2 months between the time she’d theoretically be elected and the time she’d take office. By the time she puts her hand on the bible, those people and their money will be long gone……..

  13. I notice Liawatha here is not volunteering to be first in line to have *her* wealth confiscated. Funny, that….

  14. A wealth tax shows the naivete of the Left in that they think the rich will just go, “Oh, a wealth tax. I better pay it,” rather than do everything they can to avoid it, which, if the Left studied history, is what rich people in the US have done with other taxes forever.

    God, the Left is economically stupid.

    1. “God, the Left is economically stupid.”

      Many on the Left feel they have a duty to the state that is discharged by paying tax. That feeling of duty can be abused, of course.

      1. He already said they were stupid.

        You don’t have rub it in.

      2. I think you are more concerned with other people’s “duty to the state”.

        And that’s just ugly.

      3. they are free to donate to the state. they’re just greedy and full of envy and resentment and bitterness.

  15. How are they even going to determine how much wealth people have?
    Beyond the fact that it’s just stupid and won’t work, actually implementing it would require a massive invasion of privacy that goes way beyond the already unreasonable invasion of privacy that the income tax requires.
    This is a terrible idea at every level of analysis.
    Having billionaires who make their money more or less honestly is a good thing for a society.

    1. “How are they even going to determine how much wealth people have?”

      They start with your zip code.

      1. Most wealth is purely abstract. It is estimated since almost all wealth is not liquid. That is why they say stuff like Warren Buffet is estimated to be worth X billions of dollars. It is based upon an estimate of what they could get at current market value of they sold every one of their assets. But this is a vast overestimate, because ba sudden release of assets would result in price depression, resulting in far less income then estimated. This happens all the time in agriculture. Many farmers/ranchers are estimated to have millions of dollars of assets but when the bank forecloses a farm they rarely are able to recover even half of the estimated value. This has always been the case. In the antebellum south, many wealthy plantation owners were said to be land rich and money poor.

        1. I think the farmers won’t have too much to worry about with this wealth tax. Plutocrats like Trump and Clinton who park their money in places like Panama and Virgin Islands, might, depending how serious the IRS is about collecting this money. I don’t believe it is as safe and protected as you evidently do.

          1. You don’t understand a fucking thing. It was a fucking allegory asshole. I know that is to complicated for a sophostic prick like you to understand. Also, you’d be surprised how many farmers are considered millionaire based upon non-liquid assets.

            1. I don’t do allegory. But I take an interest in farming and don’t see how it’s relevant. Ask a farmer what his wealth consists of. He will stretch out his arms to indicate the land around him, lower them to indicate the rich soil, then raise them to the heavens, the clouds, even the very Sun, herself. This farmer will not say ‘my wealth is abstract.’ No sir, that is billionaire talk. Anyone goes around yammering about wealth being abstract, slap a wealth tax on their fat asses, I say.

              1. No, you do stupid.
                This is trueman; you get bullshit or sophistry. Pretentious scumbags like this are capable of nothing else:
                mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
                “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”

              2. For anyone who has not yet gotten the message, trueman is a poseur who hopes his bullshit or sophistry (and he likely does not even understand the difference) is mistaken for profunditry.
                It isn’t; you might just as well engage a high-schooler who imagines you can be mislead by ‘clever’ arguments.
                He is an ignoramus; engaging him educates neither him (certainly!) nor you; he has no knowledge to impart.
                mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
                “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”

      2. They start with zip code…then what?

    2. They hire Rick from Pawn Stars to estimate all non monetary assets.

      1. Chum Lee would just fuck it up!

    3. rich people will just buy up works of art and other objects that are easy to hide and hard to value accurately.

  16. “But throwing more tax collectors at the problem isn’t going to change the fact that the wealthy are very good at protecting their money by offshoring it or putting into unique, hard-to-value assets like artwork”

    I believe money offshore is ‘protected’ with the connivance of the intelligence agencies. If those in the know were to moonlight as IRS agents, they could rake in a lot of cash.

    1. So if a person earns money overseas and invests it overseas the US government should be able to tax it. And use the CIA to track it down? I don’t see any problem with that. /Sarc

      1. I just don’t think your off shore investments are as protected as the author of the piece seems to believe. You may agree with him rather than me.

        1. Off shore investments are good for the economy. Why people think this is a bad thing is beyond me. And why people think the federal government has any rights to them is also beyond me.

          1. “Off shore investments are good for the economy. Why people think this is a bad thing is beyond me.”

            I’m not sure they think it’s a bad thing. They just think that the money would be better spent on providing people with free education and health care.

            “And why people think the federal government has any rights to them is also beyond me.”

            People pay tax on income they make. They seem to be fine with that. If working class folks are willing to be taxed. why would they have doubts about taxing the wealthy, who have more money in the first place.

            1. So, someone makes money and they owe it to others? So basically fuck private property.
              The wealthy already are taxed on their income, at a far higher rate then the middle class.

              1. “So, someone makes money and they owe it to others? ”

                It’s called taxation, or theft, depending on who that ‘someone’ is.

                “So basically fuck private property.”

                So basically yes.

                And it’s ‘than,’ as is The wealthy fat fucker has more money than the poor guy,

                1. So you believe your owed the sweat of another man’s brow because he is more successful than you?
                  Also, I have already points out the intellectual dishonesty of your tactic of smugly correcting others minor mistakes of grammar (especially as in one case above you tried to correct me, but were completely fucking wrong, if you aren’t perfect, don’t presume to correct other’s grammar). You know you have lost this debate but rather than admit the weakness of your argument, you’d rather focus on a minor mistake.

                2. This is trueman; you get bullshit or sophistry. Pretentious scumbags like this are capable of nothing else:
                  mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
                  “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”

            2. Also if someone else is paying ot, it isn’t free. They just are benefitting from someone else’s property being confiscated by the government. And where in the Constitution does government have the authority to take someone’s wealth to give something to others?

              1. ” They just are benefitting from someone else’s property being confiscated by the government.”

                Only if they want to. Freedom of choice means nobody forces you to parasite off the state.

                “And where in the Constitution does government have the authority to take someone’s wealth to give something to others?”

                I think they manage to do it anyway. As I said earlier, it’s called taxation.

                1. So you call them parasites, yet you think it is a good idea for the government to take other people’s wealth to support these parasites?
                  The fact that they manage doesn’t make it right. Taxes are only supposed to be levied to support legitimate governmental functions. Which are limited by the Constitution. You are unable to make a decent point but really good at trying to sound intelligent through your sophistry.

                  1. “Which are limited by the Constitution.”

                    I don’t think younger people are as enamored with the constitution, sorry, Constitution as you are. They are more interested in Democracy, and Socialism. They are probably not crazy about the supreme court or the president, either.

                    1. This is trueman; you get bullshit or sophistry. Pretentious scumbags like this are capable of nothing else:
                      mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
                      “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”

            3. “People pay tax on income they make. They seem to be fine with that.If working class folks are willing to be taxed. why would they have doubts about taxing the wealthy, who have more money in the first place.”
              This assertion does not seem to be backed by any evidence. Why do you assume the middle class are fine with paying taxes or that they feel the wealthy (who already pay a fee greater percentage of the income tax and a higher rate) should pay even more taxes? Most middle class that I know tend to vote Republican largely because they want less not more income taxes. In fact did you forget the TEA party, taxed enough already?

              1. “This assertion does not seem to be backed by any evidence.”

                The evidence is that there are offices where people have the power to lower or eliminate taxes. If tax were such an important issue to people, they would vote to fill these offices with the right sort of people.

                I know about Republicans and Democrats wanting more debt and less taxation. I think this is an irresponsible way to go, relying on future generations to pay for our consumption today. Taxation would be so much better, making us pay today rather than saddling our grandchildren with our unwholesome indulgences.

                1. This is trueman; you get bullshit or sophistry. Pretentious scumbags like this are capable of nothing else:
                  mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
                  “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”

                2. BTW, this particular post is both bullshit and sophistry all in one sentence:
                  “The evidence is that there are offices where people have the power to lower or eliminate taxes. If tax were such an important issue to people, they would vote to fill these offices with the right sort of people.”
                  Is anyone here fooled by that steaming pile of shit?

                3. There will never be a time when Democrats spend less than tax revenue received.

    2. After all, Americans should ah e to lay foreign taxes on overseas investments and domestic taxes too.

      1. Can you rewrite and resubmit this comment?

        1. This is trueman; you get bullshit or sophistry. Pretentious scumbags like this are capable of nothing else:
          mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
          “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”

  17. Exactly how would the value of each person’s wealth be determined?
    There is a lot of wealth in non liquid assets – real estate, art work, or other type collectibles, etc. Who is going to be arbiter of the value of all that?

    And if the market value of someone’s wealth declines from one year to the next do they get a refund of the tax they previously paid?

    1. “There is a lot of wealth in non liquid assets – real estate, art work, or other type collectibles, etc.”

      Which they’re going to have to sell some of, to pay their taxes. What do you suppose is going to happen to the value of art and collectibles, and who’s going to want to buy them from you, when just owning them will cost you money?

      1. If you want to see a perfect example go to a farm auction sometime. Assets value well into the millions sold for pennies on the dollar.

    2. Bigger question is when would the valuation take place?

      January 1?
      July 1?
      September 30?
      December 1?

      Valuation of assets can vary wildly based on the date.

  18. Reason: It’s a horror to tax Emperor’s Xi’s exports to the US, and the Koch’s billions, but the working class shouldn’t be allowed to see a penny of their wages until they’ve been taxed.

    Muh free market!

    Switzerland has a wealth tax. Are they supposed to be a basket case of a country?

    Benjamin Tucker’s critique of Herbert Spencer in 1884 applies to most all of Reason’s articles on economics.

    It will be noticed that in these later articles, amid his multitudinous illustrations (of which he is as prodigal as ever) of the evils of legislation, he in every instance cites some law passed, ostensibly at least, to protect labor, alleviate suffering, or promote the people’s welfare. He demonstrates beyond dispute the lamentable failure in this direction. But never once does he call attention to the far more deadly and deep-seated evils growing out of the innumerable laws creating privilege and sustaining monopoly. You must not protect the weak against the strong, he seems to say, but freely supply all the weapons needed by the strong to oppress the weak. He is greatly shocked that the rich should be directly taxed to support the poor, but that the poor should be indirectly taxed and bled to make the rich richer does not outrage his delicate sensibilities in the least. Poverty is increased by the poor laws, says Mr. Spencer. Granted; but what about the rich laws that caused and still cause the poverty to which the poor laws add? That is by far the more important question; yet Mr. Spencer tries to blink it out of sight.

    1. Government lacked a definition until after 1905. Non-aggression as peace emerged in 1947 and became the LP joiners’ pledge. Conservatives, by custom and definition, think pre-Boxer Revolt and try to suck libertarians backward in time. The vote tallies indicate that this isn’t working, impassioned appeals to Dickensian altruism to the contrary notwithstanding. This is The 21st Century Union Carbide tried to awaken us to…

    2. buybuydandavis
      July.19.2019 at 11:23 pm
      “Reason: It’s a horror to tax Emperor’s Xi’s exports to the US, and the Koch’s billions, but the working class shouldn’t be allowed to see a penny of their wages until they’ve been taxed.
      Muh free market!
      “Switzerland has a wealth tax. Are they supposed to be a basket case of a country?

      I don’t care how stupid you are, but sticking your hand in my pocket gets you a fist in the chops.
      Fuck off, slaver.

      1. What’s the point of having money if all you ever do is lurk around here?

    3. @buybuy you should go bye bye. Your stupid “comments” are the dumbest I have read on this comment board, your a useless waste of space who regurgitates leftard talking points. Of course a moron like you ignores the whole article and spouts a bunch nonsense, bullshit lies because it contradicts your perverted worldview. Fuck off.

    4. “Switzerland has a wealth tax.”

      A) It’s not working all that well. Wealth manages to disappear whenever the rates are increased.

      “…according to a new paper, …taxing wealth leads declared wealth to disappear. Based on experience in Switzerland, which uses wealth taxes the most, reported wealth falls around 20 times as much in response to an increase in a wealth tax as it does to an equivalent increase in a tax on capital income, such as dividends or capital gains.

      “Individuals have greater control over their reported wealth–especially financial wealth such as bank deposits, stock and bonds–than their reported income.”

      B) It impacts the middle class, in some cantons kicking in at at about 25,000 Swiss francs (1 CHF is $1.02), so with “wealth” of $25,500 one starts paying wealth taxes.

      C) Better to spend it on hookers and blow than let the government keep taking it and taking it and taking it bit by bit by bit every…single…year…

    5. Switzerland has a wealth tax. Are they supposed to be a basket case of a country?

      Switzerland’s wealth tax is around 0.5%, its top federal income tax bracket is 11.5%, there is no capital gains tax, and the “wealth tax” also covers property taxes. Switzerland’s wealth tax is less than the currency debasement the US creates by its monetary and fiscal policies. So, yeah, I think most wealthy Americans would be happy to exchange the Swiss system for the US system.

      You must not protect the weak against the strong, he seems to say, but freely supply all the weapons needed by the strong to oppress the weak.

      And in what way does Bill Gate’s “net worth” oppress anybody? Answer: it doesn’t. So your quote is b.s. and there is no justification for taking a cent of Gates’s money.

  19. “…a wealth tax draws on the same pot of money every year, making the pile smaller and smaller over time…”

    Only for the bad capitalists. Any good capitalist is getting a double-digit ROC every year. The 2% would hurt, but it sure wouldn’t be fatal, and the pot would still be growing. In fact, maybe it would motivate bad capitalists (inherited wealth?) to get off their asses and put their money to work productively.

    1. Haha. Yeah, it’s all about motivation, right?

      Not confiscation. They just rhyme.

    2. Because we all know government is far more productive with money than private industry – retarded people.

    3. Yeah, people with inherited wealth just swim all day in their Scrooge McDuck-like money bins. None of them invest their money.

    4. Bad capitalists vs good capitalists.

      Where to begin from there.

      If a binary division of capitalism is bad vs good which are moral terms there is no place to go.

      If you mean successful in achieving goals and profits vs not you really have no clue about risk and ratios of investment.

      Be honest and what Warren and others are proposing is theft.

      1. “Good capitalists are the ones that agree with me; bad capitalists are all the others.”

        That’s about the line Warren sees, I think.

    5. “Only for the bad capitalists. Any good capitalist is getting a double-digit ROC every year. The 2% would hurt, but it sure wouldn’t be fatal, and the pot would still be growing. In fact, maybe it would motivate bad capitalists (inherited wealth?) to get off their asses and put their money to work productively.”

      Fuck off, slaver.

    6. You do have a point…if you’re a billionaire (think Mark Cuban) you’ll shift your investments every year to maximize ROC.

      However, if you’re a billionaire like Cuban, and this law is passed, you’ll protect/shift your ownership of assets so the IRS won’t find them.

  20. Thou shalt not steal. Not even from the “tippy top”. Plus they’ll just skip town.

    1. Thou shalt not covet.

      We often forget that one.

      It gets to the root of what we are talking about.

  21. The Dem platform bristled with Dixiecrat prohibitionism in 2000, when Gore and banning electricity were a novel afterthought. Bush won in time to pack the government with mystical bigots and wreck the economy through asset forfeiture. Banning birth control is still Job One at the GOP, and Dems importing the communist manifesto and Saracen berserker terrorists is not a winning response. The Dems have as much chance at the trough as Herbert Hoover and “The Injun” had in 1932, but their loss is the LP’s gain.

  22. Ugghh why doesn’t this stupid cunt die already. Fauxchohantas is a fucking joke and control freak, I bet she’ll find ways to not have to pay that tax on her wealth the hypocrite.

  23. Yay, we could pay off 13% of the debt. I’m just kidding. We’ll have $2.75 trillion more debt before this tax was even levied.

  24. “Why Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax Won’t Work”

    Because she’s a work-shy, mal-educated, fraudulent nitwit whose few ideas have been fully discredited for at least half a century.

  25. We already have a “wealth tax”; it’s called “currency debasement”, and it’s carried out through monetary and fiscal policies.

  26. The hardest part will be identifying who actually owns the wealth. If I own a $10M yacht, I’m putting it in the name of a generic company called “RichMFers LLC” with multiple shareholders, or a corporate entity with hundreds of shell companies… The IRS can’t determine my net worth if all my assets are not not in my name.

    1. Thank you for doing your part to place the burden of paying for civilization on the middle class. What a fantastic plan for long-term stability that is!

      Oh, you don’t own a yacht, do you? You will never own a yacht, ever, will you?

      What a cunt.

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