, 19 tweets, 6 min read
Today's @bopinion post is about taxing the very wealthiest Americans.

By now you've all seen that infographic showing how top tax rates have come down since the 50s:

Here's how the situation stands as of 2018.
Now, before freaking out about this graph, there are two things to realize.

First, the graph is zoomed in. The regressivity occurs within the very top brackets. We're talking about a very small # of incredibly rich people who are avoiding taxes.
Second, the graph only includes taxes, not spending.

Once you count government transfers, our fiscal system is actually pretty progressive, and has been getting steadily more so over the years (unlike, say, Sweden).

Also, it's important to remember that the tax rates in the graph are only estimates. It's very hard to measure the income of the top few richest people, and this can change the estimated tax rate a lot.

But it's clear that the falling tax rates paid by the super-rich are a problem.

Support for increasing taxes on the rich stands at over 60%:
Meanwhile, some of the country's richest people have called for their own taxes to be raised.

For example, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

And billionaire presidential candidate Tom Steyer.

And Mark Zuckerberg.

What will be the benefits of taxing the very richest Americans?

First of all, it will provide some revenue. Maybe not as much as people think, but definitely some. Especially if top taxes are raised in a variety of ways.
Second, high income taxes could prompt the super-rich to shelter their money within companies, as they did in the 50s and 60s:

That might just make companies hold more cash, but it might increase business investment. And that would be good!
But most importantly, higher taxes on the super-rich would increase social cohesion.

It would make Americans feel like they live in a SOCIETY, rather than a dog-eat-dog world of winners and losers.
So how do we tax the super-rich?

First, we raise the capital gains tax rate.
Next, we repeal Trump's deduction for pass-through income.

Next, we add more income tax brackets at the top.
Next, we raise the estate tax, and turn it into a true inheritance tax to make it much harder to avoid.

And if all that isn't enough...wealth taxes.

Taxing the super-duper-rich isn't going to flood the Treasury with money, or solve most of our social problems. But it's a way to ensure that Americans feel like they're all in this society together.

That's part of what I might call "democracy".


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