Richard Wolff on Conservative Response to Warren’s Wealth Tax


I’m gonna focus on Elizabeth Warren’s
[wealth tax] plan because it is the most clearly and worked out and detailed plan.
Here’s her plan. She would require an annual 2% tax (2%) on all portfolios or
all net worth individuals who have (get ready now) more than $50 million dollars.
So a lot of you listening and watching can relax because Elizabeth Warren is
not after you. If you have $50 million bucks or less none of what I’m about to
describe to you will affect you. You’re not part of the story.
And how are they going to be taxed? 2% of what they have above $50 million. The
first $50 million nobody gets taxed, including these wealthy people. Only what
you have in excess of $50 million will be subject to a 2% tax. And if you
have more than $1 billion you will be subject to (get ready) a 3% tax per year.
Ok, how many families in America are going to be affected by this tax? Answer:
75,000 families. That’s in a population of 325 million people.
I did the arithmetic. Here’s the percentage pf Americans that will be affected. Ready?
0.0002%. Wow. How could you get really excited about this if
99.999% of the people are not affected by this tax? Well, our
conservatives ever ready to defend 0.0002% are on the job. This tax will
raise, over ten years, $2.75 trillion
dollars of revenue, able to solve many of the most egregious problems of American
society. Wow. You could help 325 million people by taxing (ready?) 2% of
the money owned by people who have more than
$50 million, leaving them, of course, with 98% of what they had. They would still be
the richest people in the country. But the conservatives are apoplectic. One of
them on Fox News recently referred to this as a “confiscation tax.” “They’re taxing our
property! That is awful! That’s my property! And you know something it’s
even worse than awful because I already paid an income tax when I earned that
money and now I used it to buy property and they’re gonna tax my property!
Isn’t that awful!?” And to go even one more step they said, “you know, over ten years,
you multiply ten years time 2% a year, that’s 20% of my money!” They really got
excited. So let me respond because their excitement is based on a level of
ignorance which is so enormous that I don’t really believe it. I think they
know better but they think we don’t. So I want to deal with that. Let’s start.
Taxing twice. You’re right. You are taxed when you earn your income, and then if
you buy certain kinds of property you’re taxed again. One is a tax on income and
the other one is a tax on property. But there is nothing new and nothing
exceptional about this. Let me give you an example. If you earn money, you pay an
income tax. Suppose you use that money to buy a home. Guess what, there’s a property
tax on your home in the town where you live. So you’ve paid income tax and then
you pay a tax on your property. That’s not new and that’s not exceptional. What are
you screaming about, Mr. conservative? There’s nothing new here.
If you earn money you pay an income tax, if you then buy a car you pay a property
tax on that car. Once again, income tax and then property tax. Ironically, what
the conservatives don’t want you to know is that there is a kind of property that
doesn’t pay a property tax in the United States. You know what it is? Its
property in the form of stocks and bonds. In every community in America they tax
land, they tax buildings, they tax automobiles. But they do not
tax stocks and bonds. It’s the one kind of property that is exempt through the
history of the United States, most of it. Wow.
The fact is it’s a highly unjust system, this property tax. It taxes cars, homes,
and land. That’s the property average people sometimes have, at least a better
half of them in terms of income. 10% of the people owned 84% of the
shares of stocks and bonds. They’re the ones escaping from a property tax on the
property they’re rich enough to own. And Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are
going after that which should have been done a hundred years ago. There’s nothing
new and nothing comes confiscatory about it. If you’re really worried about
confiscating property you should have been complaining about the tax on homes
and the tax on cars, which you conservatives carefully avoid doing. And now the funny joke about multiplying ten times two. I’ll give it to the
Conservatives, it adds up to 20. You’re right. But what you forgot to remember is
the wealth grows each year. It’s 2% but not of the same amount. It’s 2% of the
wealth as it grows. And 2% is a lot less than they’re gonna make because if you
have this kind of money you hire a hedge fund to manage it for you. By the way, you
know what hedge funds charge rich people like this? 2% a year of the value of
their assets plus 20% of how much it goes up. It’s called the two-and-twenty
rule. So, rich people are used to paying 2% a year to their hedge fund manager
plus 20%. The government is only coming and asking for 2%, not 20% of what it
goes up. So, the joke is it’s a fake. They don’t want to pay the tax. That’s all
that’s going on. Rich people don’t want to pay the tax which should come as hot
news to nobody.




Comments
  1. Why don't government just quit spending money and all us won't pay so much taxes. I don't buy a house because of property taxes to own it. I don't have new vehicles. Same car truck for 20 years . I tired of paying all these register fee's the state charges me. I don't buy anything because all you pay is taxes. it pays to not make much money because they just take it in a form of taxes. and inflation.

  2. 75000 families have that much money here? Good for them. I wasn't that lucky. Pay your tax and help the rest of us. It helps you too by circulating the money and boosting the economy.

  3. Warren's tax is absurd. Any Dem worth her salt would be advocating a return to Eisenhower's (R) top marginal rate of 91% (an effective rate of 54-55% depending on how you count this and that) on the rich. My back of the napkin calculation shows that the entirety of the national debt (if that matters to you) is due to tax cuts for the rich since 1964. –Put another way, the entirety of both parties' political rhetoric, ALL of it, has one main aim: To keep you from recognizing the above. To keep you from understanding the need to raise taxes on the rich, and the consequences of the rich failing to pay their way; failing to pay for the enormous number of services they receive from the state.

  4. They are upset because they would be required to pay taxes like the rest of us I suspect. Less of it but still taxes.

  5. Frankly, these obscenely rich people have jumped though tax loopholes to avoid paying taxes that would go toward the infrastructure of this country. It's the rest of us who are holding this country together on our backs while our wages don't increase and housing and cost of living is going through the roof.

  6. None of it's going to affect me at all cuz Andrew Yang is going to Win look up Warren's wealth tax vs. Yang's VAT

  7. What a monster she would actually steal the hard earned money of those poor souls . 75.000 families will remain with the minimum of 50 million . Is this the country you want to live in ?

  8. question of the day : how many of the super–rich 75,000 american families are eurotrash JU scammers ??????…(all of them~!)

  9. Establishing a starting point of $50 million in assets might seem to Elizabeth Warren as a strategy for minimizing opposition. However, those with assets under $50 million will likely see this as getting the tax collectors' foot in the door. A different approach might be to require individuals to record unrealized gains as income and subject those gains to the income tax. This approach does have complexity because in any given year an individual might experience unrealized losses by marking assets to market value. The key would be to remove the distinction between income earned as wages, salaries, and bonuses and income derived from passive and speculative investments. All income should be combined and subjected to progressive rates of taxation.

    As I have written on other occasions, some level of individual income could be exempt, then above this exempt level increasing rates of taxation applied to higher ranges of income. It is common sense that the highest ranges of income come from speculation and rent-seeking activities. They are in no sense "earned."

  10. I guess that if somebody could talk to those 75K families and then run a referendum to them, the opposition to the Wealth Tax would be a lot less than Fox and others make up to be. After all, isn't there a couple of groups called "Millionaires – or Billionaires – for Bernie"? Nick Hanauer comes to mind.

  11. Most super rich people are cheap and greedy; otherwise, they would not have gotten super rich, other than if they inherited the money, and if they are wonton spenders, they will most likely lose their inheritances. The super rich in the US since Reagan have made anti-tax a priority by using lobbing to control Congress to become anti-tax. By advocating Libertarianism of government being wasteful, corrupt, socialistic, bleeding heart environmentalist, air headed false scientists, anti-religious, anti-South civil rights pushers, and the like, the Conservatives have brain washed near half the US to support them. Conservatives of the South gain votes by playing the racial card, the religious abortion/gay card, the 2nd Amendment anti-gun control card, and the like, so that even though Conservative tax cuts for the rich policies hurt the common Conservative voters, the racial, religious, 2nd Amendment, North/South, and the like cards enable the Conservatives to maintain enough control in Congress, specially in the Senate where super-majority is needed so that a somewhat minority can prevent changes in Federal laws. Win-Lose propositions have a hard to impossible time of passing through the Senate, because super-majority 60% vote is needed to pass new laws, instead of just a 51% majority vote. Win-Win propositions have the best chance to winning in the Senate. The Marxist us-versus-them approach creates conflicts between the Republicans and the Democrats that gets blockage in the Senate for the foreseeable future, as it is unlikely that any one party can get a super-majority in the Senate. While Win-Win proposals are not ease to come up with, Win-Win proposals are not impossible. For example, criminal and prison reforms have had gain bi-partisan support. Another potential area may be patent system reform which can benefit both parties. For example, the US Government may sell patent-extension for large sums, and royalties, as big companies love to get patent-extensions on their expiring successful patents, while the Government may raise large funds to support social programs. It is a Win-Win type of proposition that can pass the Senate and the House. With technologies, AI, and innovations making a lot of super-rich, and increasing the wealth gap to new heights, the current patent system tends to create more and more huge imbalance in the wealth between people. AI (Artificial Intelligence technology) is starting to eliminate many common jobs like truck driving, factory work, service work, and even profession work. It can be envisioned that many if most jobs will be replaced by AI computers, and robotic machines. Right now, the big companies gain most of the profits from this technological advance, while the common folks gain small gains only like saving a few postage stamps from paying billing online instead of mailing, which the owners of companies using these new technologies become more and more super-rich, who many times freely using inventions and innovations made by the US and other Governments using taxpayers tax funds to create these inventions and innovations like the Internet, World Wide Web software, and the like. Patent system reform can fairly distribute profits of innovation more evenly between the super-rich and the common folks. While creating jobs is great, creating passive income via ownership is even greater.

  12. The conservatives and libertarians have many ways of “proving” that ANY tax on the wealthy will simply drive them out of the country and cost jobs since “only the rich” provide jobs. So, at least in my experience, it would be most productive to debunk those assertions.

  13. Warrens plan won't even make a dent in the interest owed on our defense spending. Stopping the wars and out of control defense spending is the number one issue. Because without that all is for naught.

  14. Wolff's math is wrong. 75,000/325,000,000 = 0.0002 = 0.02%. This is the wrong calculation though because there are 140.9 million tax payers as of 2019. Now, there are 75k family who will be taxed under Warren, but for simplification, let's say that each of those 75k represents one tax payer. So it's really 75k/140.9M = 0.00053 = 0.053%. Still a small number but don't want those on the right to accuse you of being disingenuous.

  15. Wrong Prof Wolff! Bernie has the more detailed and comprehensive plan and he had it before Liz "Come Lately" Warren.

  16. Leftist: Why are you against this? You're not part of the 1%
    Conservative: Yeah but one day I might be and then people like me better watch their step!

  17. I live in the Netherlands where your savings account is also considered property, thus taxed. My income is already taxed but if I spend it on my energy bill it will be energy-taxed. over the sum total I will also have to pay VAT. So taxed 3 times over the same amount of money, this is considered normal in most western countries. Not complaining: I get a lot in return for it.

  18. Poor people do that already. It is called a property tax.
    Oh my GOD! So my property tax was a CONFISCATION TAX?!?!?! O Horror!

    And the money I've already earned and paid a tax on is taxed again when I buy something? A sale tax is also a "confiscation tax?"

    So what. Pay it, support your country, and quit whining about it you rich babies.

  19. Regarding Warren’s “Most clearly worked out and detailed plan”

    Bernie’s plan also breaks down the progressive levels of taxation for different levels of wealth, but his goes significantly further than Warren’s plan (8% for wealth over 10 billion). It would cut the wealth of billionaires in half over fifteen years.

    That is probably worth mentioning here.

  20. DR. Wolff, Do you really believe Warren would help the 99% by taxing the 1%? Where a candidate gets their campaign money is where their interest will be! She has to appear to be on the side of the 99% to get elected. But we will be tricked, as we have many times before (AMERICANS ARE IGNORANT FOOLS!)! I have been following you for several months now and I need to STOP! Jimmy Dore is a man with a BACKBONE! He's not SPINELESS like the rest of people on YOUTUBE that are misleading the people!

  21. I’m confused. How is Warren’s plan more detailed than Bernie’s? His plan kicks in at 1% on $32 million for married couples, and progressively gets bigger from there, capping at 8% over 10 billion. This plan will cut billionaires’ wealth in half over 15 years. So I don’t understand how Warren’s plan is more progressive than that. Is there something that I’m missing?

  22. And that's why I say even with Bernie's tax it would probably just end up slowing down the growth of their wealth more or less significantly.
    The Hedge Funds managers will find plenty of ways to to still make them earn enough…
    Usually the ROI (Return Of Investment) of those Hedge Fund traders is somewhere between 15% and 50%, mostly somewhere between 25% and 35% annually (Forex).
    However there is a risk bound to it and some years you might even lose out. But usually the owners make enough money to easily afford paying those taxes and still see a quite some growth of their wealth over time.

  23. First off Elisabeth is a corporate Hack. Second off This tax is not nearly enough to offset the cost of the new deal plans many democratic canadates support so why bother with 2% why not 20% or 80% after all their wealth is product of worker exploitation so why should they keep so much? You talk a big socialist game Mr. Wolff but I fear you have been bought out by crony Democrats

  24. Nothing good ever came out of conservatism. Nothing innovative or creative anyway. Conservatism is a thing of tribalism, fear, elitists and white supremacists. Too bad they run the whole show and have all the money. As far as the election goes, I predict Sanders and Warren will be trampled by Joe Biden riding in on a white horse displaying a green dollar sign in a white background on his standard. ~

  25. America is the land of the taxes that's why the government is powerful . But yo hear that some rich pigs don't pay taxes , it makes me furious . I barely get by with my income yet , I paid my taxes . No wonder these son of bitches are afraid to walk on the streets because , many of us sure would like choke the life out of them .

  26. I do not think that Elizabeth or Bernie's plans are the issue. Oh yes, we absolutely need some kind of tax reform. The real point is that the really fabulously wealthy have sucked all the juice out of working people already and now they are trying to suck the wealth out of the middle class too. They want everything for them and leave us the crumbs. That's called oligarchy. Listen up, folks, we better wake up and tax the wealthy at a higher rate than 2% or even 3%. Our society is unbalanced. During the great depression the rich paid 90% and they were still rich. Let us go back to our roots and tax the hell out of the greedy, lying Republican rich and live a better life with health care that is free, transportation that works, schools that educate and jobs for everyone that pay a decent livable wage. We need affordable housing, we need to pay down the national debt, we need parks and green places for kids to roam and play in. THEY do not need three big homes, trips every few months, yachts, ten cars and they don't need jewels in heaps in addition to their stocks, bonds and vast commercial properties and enterprises. The rich can stay comfortably rich and we can be secure too. Let's go get 'em at the polls! Vote Bernie!

  27. Simple fact is we shouldn’t have a central bank. We shouldn’t be involved in foreign wars. We shouldn’t have income tax at all.

  28. Ok let's tax them twenty to thirty percent if you complain more and complain more we will take everything and call you
    Drug Dealers

  29. To be honest I didn't make it beyond "Warren has the most comprehensive wealth tax plan". Total turn off. Sanders already proposed a wealth tax in the 1990s. Contrary to media it is not Sanders but Warren who copied this idea. You can have all the ideas of the world but will you fight for them. Not likely,, Warren already declared she will be a team player. This country cannot afford Obama 2.0.

  30. Instead of investing the super rich have been putting their assets in the stock market, this is easy and you don't usually get taxed. They need to put money back to work for the benefit of the whole society. I think 2% of >$500M is fair as an encouragement to invest in our country.

  31. Why is this so fucking hard every person needs to pay a flat tax rate no matter if your a billionaire or only make 20grand what makes the rich think they deserve a break what because they employ people there company couldn’t earn those profits without those employees doing all the work those companies and traders wouldn’t be making the money they are making without the employees doing the work to expand the company with out them there is no growth and no expansion it’s not that hard I’m a stoner hippie construction worker and i get it stop being such fools and believing the bullshit

  32. That is 75000 families freeloading of the state.
    You have to really wonder: how can a democracy work that protects the 0.0002%?

  33. My parents both passed away and they had savings bonds. I had to cash them all out. HAD to…no choice, and wasn’t even able to spread it out over time. The earnings on those bonds were taxed, and it threw me into a higher tax bracket, too. It counted as income to me, rather than inheritance. The money those bonds were earning over time was not taxed annually…it was unrealized income…it only existed as an idea, a potential, until they were cashed out.
    So I don’t understand what you mean by saying they aren’t taxed.

  34. tacks the rich is the idiots way of how to solve the national debt..

    my way is to stop BORROWING

    you keep spending on credit (deficate spending) and you wind up in the shit

  35. Who cares about anything about what the corp owned DEMS puppets say. How can POSSIBLY anyone trust this WOMAN, after her records of supporting the CROOK of HRC?

  36. Limit wealth to 20 million. Even that much is more than what I can wrap my head around as an upper middle classer.

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