Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

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Re: Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

#26

Post by Addie » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:23 pm

Beacon
Maine Democrats move to repeal estate tax breaks for wealthy

Democratic members of the legislature’s Tax Committee voted last week to advance a bill that would lower the threshold for the state’s estate tax in a move advocates hope will restore a measure of fairness to the Maine tax code.

Over the course of his administration, former Governor Paul LePage raised the estate tax threshold, which he referred to as the “death tax,” from $1 million to $5.6 million for individuals or $11.2 million for joint estates of married couples. During the June 6 work session, lawmakers were considering two bills, LD 518 and LD 420, which would undo LePage’s cut and lower the exclusion amount to $1 million and $2 million, respectively.

Kicking off the discussion, committee chair Rep. Ryan Tipping (D-Orono) explained that the estate tax was conceived early in the history of America to “allow for social upward mobility” and to “make sure we don’t end up having an oligarchy that can continue to stay in power just because they amassed wealth through different generations.” ...

The committee voted along party lines to advance LD 420, which would bring the individual exclusion to $2 million, to the floor for a vote.

Advocates say that the estate tax is one of the last remaining avenues this session that could recoup some of the revenue lost as a result of LePage’s extensive tax rollbacks, which particularly benefited the state’s wealthiest individuals.

“This one change for those who have accumulated wealth has created a hole often of millions of dollars each year in our state budget,” John Kosinski of the Maine Education Association said in testimony to the committee.

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Re: Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

#27

Post by Addie » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:19 am

The Guardian June 6 - Jonathan Aldred
‘Socialism for the rich’: the evils of bad economics

The economic arguments adopted by Britain and the US in the 1980s led to vastly increased inequality – and gave the false impression that this outcome was not only inevitable, but good.


In most rich countries, inequality is rising, and has been rising for some time. Many people believe this is a problem, but, equally, many think there’s not much we can do about it. After all, the argument goes, globalisation and new technology have created an economy in which those with highly valued skills or talents can earn huge rewards. Inequality inevitably rises. Attempting to reduce inequality via redistributive taxation is likely to fail because the global elite can easily hide their money in tax havens. Insofar as increased taxation does hit the rich, it will deter wealth creation, so we all end up poorer.

One strange thing about these arguments, whatever their merits, is how they stand in stark contrast to the economic orthodoxy that existed from roughly 1945 until 1980, which held that rising inequality was not inevitable, and that various government policies could reduce it. What’s more, these policies appear to have been successful. Inequality fell in most countries from the 1940s to the 1970s. The inequality we see today is largely due to changes since 1980.

In both the US and the UK, from 1980 to 2016, the share of total income going to the top 1% has more than doubled. After allowing for inflation, the earnings of the bottom 90% in the US and UK have barely risen at all over the past 25 years. More generally, 50 years ago, a US CEO earned on average about 20 times as much as the typical worker. Today, the CEO earns 354 times as much.

Any argument that rising inequality is largely inevitable in our globalised economy faces a crucial objection. Since 1980 some countries have experienced a big increase in inequality (the US and the UK); some have seen a much smaller increase (Canada, Japan, Italy), while inequality has been stable or falling in others (France, Belgium and Hungary). So rising inequality cannot be inevitable. And the extent of inequality within a country cannot be solely determined by long-run global economic forces, because, although most richer countries have been subject to broadly similar forces, the experiences of inequality have differed.

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Re: Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

#28

Post by Addie » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:45 am

Vanity Fair: Conscience-Stricken Billionaires Beg 2020 Candidates: Take Our Money

George Soros, Abigail Disney, and 17 other zillionaires say a wealth tax is “the least we can do.”

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Re: Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

#29

Post by Addie » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:25 am

New York Times
Who Gets to Own the West?

A new group of billionaires is shaking up the landscape. ...


The purchase also placed the Wilkses high on the list of well-heeled landowners who are buying huge parcels of America. In the last decade, private land in the United States has become increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few. Today, just 100 families own about 42 million acres across the country, a 65,000-square-mile expanse, according to the Land Report, a magazine that tracks large purchases. Researchers at the magazine have found that the amount of land owned by those 100 families has jumped 50 percent since 2007.

Much of that land stretches from the Rocky Mountains down into Texas, where, for some, commercial forests and retired ranches have become an increasingly attractive investment.

Battles over private and public land have been a defining part of the West since the 1800s, when the federal government began doling out free acres to encourage expansion. For years, fights have played out between private individuals and the federal government, which owns more than half of the region.

But now, with wealthier buyers purchasing even larger parcels, the battle lines have shifted. Many local residents see these new owners as a threat to a way of life beloved for its easy access to the outdoors, and they complain that property that they once saw as public is being taken away from them.

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Re: Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

#30

Post by Addie » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:49 pm

WaPo Editorial
A wealth tax isn’t the best way to tax the rich

A HOST of public opinion data confirms that Americans favor higher taxes on the wealthy. It would seem that taxing the rich is so popular that even the rich are for it, or at least some of them. An open letter published June 24 by 19 very wealthy people, including Abigail Disney and George Soros, declared that “America has a moral, ethical and economic responsibility to tax our wealth more.” Billionaire Eli Broad chimed in with a pro-wealth-tax New York Times op-ed. Certainly their self-abnegating spirit is consistent with the policy tendency that Democratic candidates expressed during their first debates; and the letter spoke favorably of a direct tax on wealth similar to the one Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has proposed, which would put a 2 percent levy on assets above a $50 million threshold and 3 percent on assets over $1 billion.

We couldn’t agree more with the letter writers that the United States needs to raise more federal revenue and that “the next dollar of new tax revenue should come from the most financially fortunate, not from middle-income and lower-income Americans.” Undeniably, too, the 2017 tax law that President Trump and a Republican Congress enacted showered billions of dollars worth of tax relief on upper-income people and businesses. Incredibly, news reports indicate the Trump administration is considering executive action to create yet another tax reduction that primarily benefits the rich — indexing capital gains to inflation. This would fly in the face of public opinion and, more importantly, could cost the treasury between $10 billion and $20 billion per year, according to Leonard E. Burman of the Tax Policy Center.

Unlike the open letter’s authors and Ms. Warren, however, we are not convinced that a wealth tax is the optimal means of raising taxes on those who can afford to pay more. In addition to a likely constitutional challenge, the measure would encounter implementation problems — especially the consistent valuation of assets ranging from land to rare art — similar to those that have caused most European nations that tried a wealth tax to abandon it. Indeed, it’s all too likely that a wealth tax would bring in less revenue than advocates anticipate, in part because millionaires can afford the best accountants and lawyers. What’s more, a wealth tax of the kind Ms. Warren proposes would not distinguish between wealth accumulated through enterprise and innovation, which is socially productive, and wealth gained through inheritance or rent-seeking, which is not.

A better approach would be to repeal those provisions of the 2017 tax law that restored favored treatment to large estates; to reduce the favorable treatment of capital gains in general; and to eliminate the huge break for profits on the sale of stock by people who inherit it from rich benefactors. These measures are all clearly constitutional, all readily administrable by the existing Internal Revenue Service apparatus — and all well-calculated to raise substantial amounts from the top 1 percent, or less, of the income scale. A wealth tax is certainly a bold and spectacular proposal; what the country needs most, however, are effective ones.

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Re: Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

#31

Post by Addie » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:51 am

Vox - Matthew Zeitlin
Can Elizabeth Warren build a bigger welfare state without taxing the middle class?

It’s hard to build a Nordic welfare state on the backs of the rich alone.


During the second night of the first Democratic debate, moderator Savannah Guthrie asked Bernie Sanders a pointed question: “My question to you is, will taxes go up for the middle class in a Sanders administration? And if so, how do you sell that to voters?”

The Vermont senator defended his plans in his typical populist way, saying, “Health care in my view is a human right and we have got to pass a Medicare-for-All single-payer system.” But then he added, “Under that system ... the vast majority of the people in this country will be paying significantly less for health care than they are right now,” and acknowledged that Guthrie was “quite right” — that middle-class taxes would have to go up for that to happen.

It was a rare moment when someone running for the Democratic presidential nomination admitted that their spending ambitions would have to be paid for by taxes that touch not just the wealthiest Americans but taxpayers further down the bracket. Government-provided health care programs tend to be quite popular, and majorities think the rich pay too little in taxes. But for the same reason, no one much likes talking about raising middle-class taxes, even if it’s to provide social services that are popular.

Universal health care, government-funded or -provided child care, generous parental leave, free college: When you squint at the left flank of the Democratic primary, where Sanders and Elizabeth Warren support some or all of these policies, you see a vision for a radically different America. For the most part, this different America will be paid for by the rich and corporations.

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Re: Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

#32

Post by Addie » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:22 pm

Axios
Too much money (and too few places to invest it)

A truly bizarre trend is having an impact on the economy — wealthy people and corporations have so much money they literally don't know what to do with it.

Why it matters: At a time when growing income inequality is fueling voter discontent and underpinning an array of social movements, the top 1% of earners and big companies are holding record levels of unused cash.

The big picture: U.S. companies raked in a record $2.3 trillion in corporate profits last year, while the country's total wealth increased by $6 trillion to $98.2 trillion (40% of which went to those with wealth over $100,000).

So, where is all the money going? The IMF notes large companies around the world are overwhelmingly and uniformly choosing not to reinvest much of it into their businesses. They're hoarding it in cash and buying back stock.

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Re: Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

#33

Post by fierceredpanda » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:56 am

Maybe they should try investing in Guillotines, Inc.? I feel like that's a stock with massive growth potential. :twisted:
"There's no play here. There's no angle. There's no champagne room. I'm not a miracle worker, I'm a janitor. The math on this is simple; the smaller the mess, the easier it is for me to clean up." -Michael Clayton

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Re: Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

#34

Post by neonzx » Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:04 am

Addie wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:22 pm
Axios
Too much money (and too few places to invest it)

A truly bizarre trend is having an impact on the economy — wealthy people and corporations have so much money they literally don't know what to do with it.
Invest it in average/low income neighbourhoods and needs. The Giving Pledge. The Giving Pledge is a campaign to encourage wealthy people to contribute a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
To which Trump replied, Fuck the law. I don't give a fuck about the law. I want my fucking money.

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Re: Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

#35

Post by Addie » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:55 am

MarketWatch: Here’s what 2020 Democratic candidates have said about universal basic income

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Re: Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

#36

Post by Addie » Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:21 pm

Baltimore Sun Editorial
Don’t soak the rich, squeeze them like it’s 2009

The increasing concentration of U.S. wealth in the hands of a relative few has gotten much attention among the Democratic presidential candidates. Small wonder. The wealthiest three families now have as much ($248.5 billion) as the bottom half of all Americans ($245 billion). You don’t have to be a card-carrying socialist to question the wisdom of this concentration of wealth. Unfortunately, some of the possible fixes, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s outright tax on the assets of the super rich (a $2.75 trillion, 10-year initiative) may strike some Americans as too extreme, or at least too difficult to accomplish.

Well, Maryland’s own U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen has devised a more modest and straightforward approach to preserving a republic that won’t be wholly dominated by the offspring of the Buffets, Gateses or Bezoses and their ilk, and it deserves more attention than it has received since its unveiling last month. His aptly-named plan, the Strengthen Social Security by Taxing Dynastic Wealth Act, would return the estate tax and gift tax to 2009 levels (bumping it from 40% to 45%) while lowering the exemption to $3.5 million (or $7 million for married couples). The new revenue would then be be deposited entirely into the Social Security trust fund to help cover retirement, death and disability claims for many years to come.

In a recent meeting with The Sun’s editorial board, Senator Van Hollen noted that the Social Security half of his proposal was no accident but an attempt to broaden support for raising the estate tax which, despite being maligned as a “death tax” by Republicans, has been part of the U.S. tax code for a century (with a brief interruption in 2010). It is paid by fewer than 2% of heirs who come into a financial windfall. And the idea of dedicating the estate tax to Social Security? That was promoted more than a decade ago by none other than the late Robert M. Ball, perhaps the nation’s leading Social Security expert of the 20th century. And since Mr. Ball’s death in 2008, trust fund finances have only gotten shakier with reserves expected to be depleted by 2034. ...

Is the proposal perfect? Probably not. The affluent can always find tax avoidance loopholes that aren’t available to the rest of us, but again, that’s not a good reason to give up on tax fairness. Admittedly, the senator probably can’t convince President Donald Trump or most Senate Republicans to get behind such a measure, but the 2020 election could lead to some early retirements. After that, a return to 2009 estate tax rates might look a whole lot more do-able.

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Re: Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

#37

Post by ZekeB » Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:25 pm

Back in the Good Olde Days the rich were taxed at 70+ percent. Even Laffer, that darling of the Republicans, calculated that there would still be incentive to maximize profits with tax rates of up to 50 percent. Bring on the 50 percent for the rich!
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Re: Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

#38

Post by MN-Skeptic » Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:32 pm

I agree with increasing tax rates.

The other thing I would do is increase the tax rate on capital gains based on the holding period. I'd have 1-3 years, 3-5 years, and >5 year long term capital gains rates.
MAGA - Morons Are Governing America

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Re: Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

#39

Post by Addie » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:35 am

Bloomberg
The World’s Wealthiest Family Gets $4 Million Richer Every Hour

The numbers are mind-boggling: $70,000 per minute, $4 million per hour, $100 million per day.

That’s how quickly the fortune of the Waltons, the clan behind Walmart Inc., has been growing since last year’s Bloomberg ranking of the world’s richest families.

At that rate, their wealth would’ve expanded about $23,000 since you began reading this. A new Walmart associate in the U.S. would’ve made about 6 cents in that time, on the way to an $11 hourly minimum.

Even in this era of extreme wealth and brutal inequality, the contrast is jarring. The heirs of Sam Walton, Walmart’s notoriously frugal founder, are amassing wealth on a near-unprecedented scale — and they’re hardly alone.

The Walton fortune has swelled by $39 billion, to $191 billion, since topping the June 2018 ranking of the world’s richest families.

Other American dynasties are close behind in terms of the assets they’ve accrued. The Mars family, of candy fame, added $37 billion, bringing its fortune to $127 billion. The Kochs, the industrialists-cum-political-power-players, tacked on $26 billion, to $125 billion.

So it goes around the globe. America’s richest 0.1% today control more wealth than at any time since 1929, but their counterparts in Asia and Europe are gaining too. Worldwide, the 25 richest families now control almost $1.4 trillion in wealth, up 24% from last year.

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Re: Issues 2020: Billionaires vs. America/Tax the Rich

#40

Post by Addie » Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:45 pm

GQ: Why Andrew Yang’s Universal Basic Income Proposal Has Been Gaining Ground

The cash-guarantee proposal has new fans, but what is UBI exactly?

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