The progressive push to tax the rich is trying a new approach, The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer Weil reports:
“A group of legislators in statehouses across the country have coordinated to introduce bills simultaneously in seven states later this week. … Some of the state bills resemble the ‘wealth tax’ that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) pitched during her 2020 presidential candidacy. It’s a form of taxation never before attempted in the United States, in which very wealthy people would have to pay taxes annually on assets that they own, rather than just their income that year. Other bills focus on raising money from more conventional forms of taxation, including capital gains taxes and estate taxes.”
The states involved reportedly are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York and Washington. The California proposal, for example, would reportedly impose a 1.5% tax on those with more than $1 billion in assets. Some states will look to tax the unrealized capital gains or to raise capital gains tax rates for wealthy residents, while others will consider higher income tax rates on top earners.
Weil notes that some opponents of a wealth tax think the idea makes even less sense at the state level since the rich being targeted can move to a different state more easily than they might leave the country.
The renewed push for wealth taxes comes as Oxfam, a non-profit focused on fighting inequality and poverty, said in a report Monday that the richest 1% of people on the planet got nearly two-thirds of all new wealth created over the past two years.
“Oxfam believes that, as a starting point, the world should aim to halve the wealth and number of billionaires between now and 2030, both by increasing taxes on the top 1% and adopting other billionaire-busting policies,” the new report says. “This would bring billionaire wealth and numbers back to where they were just a decade ago in 2012. The eventual aim should be to go further, and to abolish billionaires altogether, as part of a fairer, more rational distribution of the world’s wealth.”