Last week, in what’s clearly a race between Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to become the most anti-capitalist presidential candidate, Ms. Warren proposed to double the top rate of her proposed wealth tax for wealth above $1 billion. This comes after Mr. Sanders presented an even more punitive wealth tax that ranges from a 1percent tax rate wealth of $32 million to an 8 percent rate on amounts over $10 billion.
The candidates claim that this heavy taxing will fund their grand plans for advancing economic equality. But if Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders are good at anything, it’s making big promises they know they can’t keep. Since they announced their presidential bids, they’ve promised to hand out health care, college and housing — to name a few. Of course, all of these free programs won’t really be free. And the math behind these plans to siphon money from America’s most affluent is less than stellar.
Even worse? The malevolence behind it all. The truth is that the wealth tax wouldn’t just be a tool to fund the government. It’d also be a blatant attempt from the radical left to punish the rich for being rich.
Among her many other taxes, Ms. Warren introduced her “Ultra-Millionaires Tax” in January, claiming it’ll fund all of her grandiose ideas while only affecting the “tippy-top” of America’s wealthiest. For his part, Bernie has copied some of her tax proposals. But he, at least, admits that his tax increases will encroach on more than those in the uppermost echelons of society.
Why such radical proposals? After all, they certainly won’t help the poor.
It appears that, despite their own enormous wealth, the left’s socialist darlings just really hate rich people. And their ire is intensifying with time. On Jan. 24, days before she officially announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination, Ms. Warren proposed a 2 percent tax on wealth above $50 million and a 3 percent tax on wealth above $1 billion. Even using the wild assumptions made by the two economists that designed her plan, it would only raise $2.75 trillion over a decade’s time — covering a mere tenth of Medicare for All’s cost.
But that’s not all. Ms. Warren claims that this tax will be sufficient to pay for universal child care, forgive student loan debt, build homes for the poor and “put a downpayment” on Medicare for All. Oh, it’ll transition Americans to renewable energy, too. But why stop there? Why not a free ticket to Disneyland for every child in the United States?
Clearly, none of this is going to work, because this tax isn’t intended to help the poor, but, rather, to punish the most successful. Sure, a 2 percent or 3 percent annual wealth tax might sound insignificant, but taking 3 percent from your bank account every year is the formula for financial ruin. By making it harder to accumulate wealth, Ms. Warren’s tax will effectively cap most Americans’ wealth at around $50 million. For those worth more than that now, it’s unlikely they’d ever get much richer.
Neither Ms. Warren nor Mr. Sanders is even the presidential nominee of their party and, already, they’re raising taxes within their own plans. We can expect no less if one of them enters the Oval Office. And there’s no reason to believe that today’s 2 percent or 3 percent wealth tax on only the “richest tippy-top 0.1 percent” worth billions won’t someday become a 6% tax on anyone making over $50,000.
It’s pretty clear that Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders want to tax the rich out of existence. As Bernie Sanders, a millionaire, admitted a few months ago, “billionaires shouldn’t exist.” But Margaret Thatcher was correct when she said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Safety net programs like Medicaid, federal funding for education, and even the military or roads would be endangered if the top 1 percent highest-earning taxpayers didn’t create the wealth and make the money that they do. Because of their efforts and the value they create for others, they’re able, as they did last year, to pay over one-third of all income taxes.
In their search for a big promotion, these senators are subverting what America is all about. At its best, this country doesn’t punish success and hard work — it rewards them. The wealthiest and most successful Americans are often those who fund the greatest products and technologies that improve quality of life for everyone. So, then, if Sens. Warren and Sanders are really worried about the poor, they need to leave the rich be.
• Daniel Di Martino is a Young Voices contributor, Venezuelan freedom activist, and economics student based in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can follow him on Twitter at @DanielDiMartino.