Elizabeth Warren: “You’ve been paying a wealth tax for years…”

Elizabeth Warren has an uncanny ability to explain her policy proposals in easy to understand ways. She did that yesterday at her town hall in Nevada, and one line stood out. It explains her proposed wealth tax:

https://twitter.com/daveweigel/status/1122314100363579398

As a reminder, here’s what Warren is proposing:

Under Warren’s plan, the tax rate on wealth would be two per cent, but it would only apply to American households worth at least fifty million dollars, of which there are fewer than eighty thousand. Fortunes of a billion dollars or more would be taxed at three per cent—ten times the top rate in Wolff’s plan. Not everyone is thrilled about Warren’s proposal, of course. During a visit to New Hampshire, Mike Bloomberg, who is considering running for President in 2020, as a Democrat, claimed that Warren’s proposal was unconstitutional and brought up Venezuela. Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks C.E.O. who is thinking of entering the Presidential race as an Independent, called the Warren plan “ridiculous.” On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, Mitch McConnell and two other Republican senators said that they would introduce a bill to repeal the federal estate tax, a type of wealth tax that has already been so weakened that it now hits fewer than two thousand families a year. So much for billionaires and Republicans. — www.newyorker.com/…

When I lived in Switzerland, I was subject to a wealth tax, as was everyone (I didn’t actually own enough to pay anything meaningful, but that’s besides the point). In the canton I lived in, you submitted a balance sheet along with your taxes, listing all your assets, and liabilities. Your net worth was then subject to the cantonal wealth tax. So there is an easily understood mechanism to assess and collect wealth taxes. 

Warren’s also doing some pretty effective local campaigning:

https://twitter.com/daveweigel/status/1122320792975319040

— @subirgrewal

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