Sanders Just One-Upped Warren on a Signature Issue

Sanders' wealth tax proposal would affect more households, raise more revenue: economists
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2019 10:45 AM CDT
Sanders One-Ups Warren With Wealth Tax
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders addresses the annual Comanche Nation Fair Powwow in Lawton, Okla., on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Gerardo Bello)

Elizabeth Warren is suddenly facing competition on the signature issue of her presidential campaign. Enter Bernie Sanders, who on Tuesday unveiled his plan to "substantially reduce wealth inequality in America and stop our democracy from turning into a corrupt oligarchy." Whereas Warren backs a 2% wealth tax on net worth above $50 million and a 3% tax on net worth above $1 billion, Sanders suggests increasing tax rates starting at 1% on fortunes above $32 million for married filers and $16 million for single filers, all the way up to 8% for net worth above $10 billion (married) or $5 billion (single), per the New York Times. The plan, also requiring audits of all billionaires, would affect 180,000 households, compared to 70,000 under Warren's plan. It would also raise substantially more government revenue.

University of California-Berkeley economists Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez put the figure at $4.35 trillion over the next decade, versus $2.6 trillion under Warren's plan. What's more, they say the $943 billion in cumulative wealth of the 15 richest Americans in 2018 would've amounted to $196 billion under Sanders' plan, compared to $434 billion under Warren's. Though Warren and Sanders have remained friendly in Democratic debates so far, the AP reports their battling proposals "are the clearest sign yet that they may have to compete for the Democratic party's liberal wing in its presidential primary." Axios further suggests Sanders has one-upped Warren. If he's elected and his plan is approved by Congress, Sanders intends to dedicate revenue to universal child care—like Warren—as well as "Medicare for All." (Read more Bernie Sanders stories.)

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