America's super-rich write to Democratic presidential hopefuls, demanding a wealth tax

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Pssssst, they really didn’t mean it.


After 60 years in the good ole’ USA, I’ll be very surprised if this ever gets done.

Americans love inequality like no other humans on Earth.


But…but…what if one day I become a billionaire $ 50-millionaire? They’re being so unfair! It’s the Road to Serfdom! /Know-Nothing 27%

[Now cue the usual Libertarian fallacious arguments about these Coastal Elite soshalist billionaires being welcome to give their money to the government without “punishing” good conservative capitalists.]


And poor people and/or renters pay their landlords’ wealth tax each year by having their rent padded to cover the owners’ property tax.


Less talky, more choppy.


Well I guess I’ll just be the Pollyanna and sincerely say to these very very rich folks ‘good job’ saying this out loud. Moving (or maybe widening?) that Overton window (as the kids say) back a bit towards some degree of sanity again.


Awww, isn’t that cute! It’s trying to be equitablewarmandfuzzyabouttheproles. Somebody take a picture.

I wonder if the Sacklers and Robert and Rebekah Mercer signed on.

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Half expected Nick Hanauer to be in this list.

That said, they’re getting desperate. Must be a feeling in the air, a gust of wind rushing past their necks…


If they were serious about it they would compute the value of the wealth tax they propose and donate it to the IRS voluntarily. Haven’t they ever heard of “be the change you want to see?”

You do understand that it’s not a true “gotcha” if someone already anticipated your tired Libertarian tu quoque argument earlier in the topic, right?


Capital Gains tax should not be a flat 15%, but a progressive scale (just like income tax):
$0 - $50K = 0%
$50K - $100K = 15%
$100K - $1M = 25%

$1M = 37%


Somewhere in the halls of assorted conservative think-tanks a bunch of people are already working on talking points to discredit and dismiss the letter. Very soon every conservative pundit and pseudo-journalist will be repeating variations on the same theme, and probably one exact phrase they’ve decided will be the perfect sound-bite


As we see in this topic, they’ll just lazily wheel out the same shopworn talking point that they always do. They know that all the Temporarily Embarrassed Millionaires and anydaynowrealsoon Galtian tycoons will cheer it on, if not chant it without prompting.*

[* the less chance they have at ever becoming UHNWIs, the more likely they are to have internalised this fallacy – talk about dupes!]


So you think they’re not serious, meaning they don’t want to actually pay?

That doesn’t follow. They’re offering to pay, they just want it to be legal and apply to everyone-- imagine if we made all taxes voluntary, it would essentially be a burden on the most moral and honest among us, while the selfish and stingy would be rewarded for dishonesty.


I don’t think they have to pay extra tax, but how many of them do more or less shady tricks to avoid current taxes? Even with current tax levels, if the rich only paid them it would be a great help.

They might very well mean it, actually. Social instability is not in the interests of the super-rich, either (no matter what some of the dumber billionaires and millionaires may think), and a relatively moderate wealth tax such as suggested by Elizabeth Warren would help with that (through providing funds to the government, to fund health care and welfare and education and all the rest). Also, I think such a tax, even if it might be cranked up over the years, would be (for the ultra-rich) very much preferable to more radical wealth redistribution ideas that would almost certainly flourish in its stead.


I’m not saying that we don’t love us some inequality, but this is a vast exaggeration. How many places on Earth that aren’t America or Europe have you lived in? In my experience, most places love them some inequality even more than we do, though they don’t always express that inequality economically to the same extent we do.


Yeah, I think it’s a bad faith offer. “Oh, how I wish I could give the government more money, but my hands are tied by the lack of a law requiring it.” Yeah, right. When the signatories of this letter put their money where their mouths are I’ll take it seriously. Until then I’ll assume they have some ulterior motive that this letter advances (ego, image, whatever). The Kochs donate vast sums to ensure the reelection of representatives who will forever block this kind of change, and these folks write a letter. I just wonder which one has more impact?


In my experience, that’s the primary distinguishing feature between smart ultra-wealthy people and stupid ones. The former know that the chances to truly enjoy the lifestyle options that come with $30-million+ in the bank are drastically reduced in a society with a higher Gini coefficient (e.g. Brazil or Mexico or South Africa).