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Warren to Unveil 'Ultra-Millionaire' Tax

Mass. senator wants 2% tax on net worth above $50M, 3% above $1B
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2019 7:15 AM CST
Elizabeth Warren speaks at the "Community Conversation about Puerto Rico and its Recovery" held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

(Newser) – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn't alone in wanting more taxes on the wealthy. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is expected to propose an "ultra-millionaire" tax, the brain child of University of California-Berkeley economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, reports Politico. It would impose a 2% tax on each dollar of net worth above $50 million and a 3% tax on every dollar above $1 billion. "We estimate that about 75,000 American households (less than 0.1%) would be liable," yet the plan "would raise around $2.75 trillion" over a decade, the economists wrote in a Jan. 18 letter to Warren. Per Bloomberg, some say the tax would do more to relieve income inequality than a 70% income tax on the wealthiest Americans since most of their wealth comes "from private business profit taxed at lower rates and appreciated assets that go untaxed until they're sold."

"The top 0.1% of American families ... now have nearly the same amount of wealth as the bottom 90% of American families combined" and "we need structural change to fix it," Warren says in an email to supporters. The former Harvard law professor, who's established an exploratory committee for a presidential run in 2020, intends the revenue to bolster the middle class, perhaps in paying for child care or student debt relief, per Bloomberg. Critics have concerns about feasibility, however, noting the daily fluctuations in the value of assets of large privately-held companies. Americans For Tax Reform says the tax would also "harm economic growth" and "incentivize the investment of money overseas." Jeff Bezos probably isn't a fan, either. Bloomberg reports the world's richest person would have to pay $4.1 billion in the first year under Warren's tax. (President Trump has been targeting Warren.)

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