Bernie Sanders Unveils Radical Redistribution Scheme: ‘Billionaires Should Not Exist’

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 09: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to supporters at a rally at Civic Center Park on September 9, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)
Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) declared on Tuesday that “billionaires should not exist” as part of the rollout of his massive proposal to redistribute wealth in America via an “extreme wealth” tax, which he claims will “reduce the outrageous level of inequality that exists in America today.”

Sanders unveiled his plan to redistribute wealth in the U.S. via an “extreme wealth tax,” which the socialist senator says will apply to the “top 0.1 percent.” While Sanders’ plan is reminiscent of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) proposed wealth tax, it goes even further, taxing more individuals at even higher rates.

For example, Sanders proposes to implement a one percent tax on couples with a net worth over $32 million. The percentage increases alongside the value of assets:

The tax rate would increase to 2 percent on net worth from $50 to $250 million, 3 percent from $250 to $500 million, 4 percent from $500 million to $1 billion, 5 percent from $1 to $2.5 billion, 6 percent from $2.5 to $5 billion, 7 percent from $5 to $10 billion, and 8 percent on wealth over $10 billion.

“These brackets are halved for singles,” Sanders explains.

The socialist senator admits the goal of his ultra-progressive redistribution proposal, boasting that — under his plan — the wealth of billionaires “would be cut in half over 15 years” and declaring that “billionaires should not exist”:

Sanders’ proposal would also spur the creation of a “national wealth registry” and provide an “increase in IRS funding” in order to manage a swell of new audits.

It states:

In order to ensure that the wealthy are not able to evade the tax, the proposal includes a number of key enforcement policies. First, it would create a national wealth registry and significant additional third party reporting requirements.

Second, it includes an increase in IRS funding for enforcement and requires the IRS to perform an audit of 30 percent of wealth tax returns for those in the 1 percent bracket and a 100 percent audit rate for all billionaires. Third, the wealth tax includes a 40 percent exit tax on the net value of all assets under $1 billion and 60 percent over $1 billion for all wealthy individual seeking to expatriate to avoid the tax. Finally, the wealth tax proposal will include enhancements to the international tax enforcement and anti-money laundering regime including the strengthening of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

The presidential candidate argues the U.S. already taxes inherited wealth via the estate tax and says his proposal is constitutional, citing two Yale law professors, Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott, who have expressed support for the radical concept. Sanders adds that it is “not radical” to ask the wealthy to “pay their fair share.”

His proposal is expected to result in $4.5 trillion over the next decade, according to University of California, Berkeley, economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. Nonetheless, that number does not come close to paying for his expansive, expensive proposals, such as his $16 trillion Green New Deal proposal or Medicare for All, which could — by some estimates — cost the U.S. over $60 trillion over the next decade alone.

Sanders’ ideological ally, Warren, has also introduced a wealth tax, although it does not go as far. She proposes implementing a two percent wealth tax on those with $50 million in assets, as opposed to Sanders’ $32 million. Warren’s plan increases the tax to three percent for those with assets of $1 billion or greater, with no distinction between couples or single filers. She, like Sanders, plans to fund her costly proposals via the wealth tax, although Saez and Zucman estimate that her proposal would result in $2.6 trillion over the next decade, $1.9 trillion less than Sanders’ proposal.

“If we make the top 0.1% pay their fair share in taxes, their quality of life would not change at all,” Sanders tweeted following the announcement of his redistribution scheme.

“But we would be able to invest in housing, child care and health care and improve the lives of millions of working people,” he added:


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