Wealth Taxes Are a Dying Breed

For those curious to learn more about wealth taxes, Brad DeLong recommends a primer written a few months ago over at Equitable Growth. It’s a good introduction, but in the end the most important takeaway is probably this:

Most countries have given up on wealth taxes because the game wasn’t worth the candle. There are lots of intricacies to a wealth tax, and in the end it amounted to only about 1 percent of total tax revenues in most countries (with Switzerland as a bit of an outlier). In the United States, total tax receipts for all levels of government come to roughly $5 trillion, so 1 percent would amount to $50 billion per year.

In round numbers, you could get the same amount of revenue by creating a new tax bracket at $1 million and increasing the top tax rate from 39 percent to 42 percent. There may be advantages to a wealth tax even if it raises the same amount as a millionaire-bracket income tax, but on the other hand the increased income tax is very simple, very well-understood, hits pretty much the same people, and is unquestionably constitutional. Given all that, a wealth tax would probably need to have some pretty convincing benefits to be worth the effort of creating it.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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