Election 2020 Open Thread: “Eat the Rich — Elect President Warren”

The New Yorker‘s economics correspondent John Cassidy, no wild-eyed radical:

As Senator Elizabeth Warren prepares for Thursday’s Democratic debate, in Houston, she is the first viable contender for the Presidency in decades to have proposed a direct tax on wealth. In January, she unveiled a plan to assess a two-per-cent levy on fortunes greater than fifty million dollars and to tax three cents on every dollar of wealth exceeding a billion dollars. Since then, economists have been debating the proposal’s practicality and desirability. During a conference at the Brookings Institution in Washington last week, some of the main protagonists faced off. Many of the technical issues that they raised were important, but to me the main thing that came across was the groundbreaking nature of Warren’s proposal.

In theory, the United States already taxes wealth—the stock of cash, financial instruments, real estate, equity in private businesses, and consumer durables—through the estate tax. But this levy applies to wealth accumulated over a lifetime, and the high marginal rate on large bequests (currently forty per cent) has prompted a great deal of avoidance (some legal, some illegal) and political opposition. In 2001, a Republican-controlled Congress passed legislation to get rid of the estate tax completely. That law expired in 2010, and the tax was resurrected in an even weaker form. Trump and the G.O.P.’s tax reforms of 2017 further reduced the estate tax’s impact by doubling the exemption threshold.

Rather than trying to eliminate some of the estate tax’s loopholes, which the Obama Administration proposed, Warren put forward a new tax that has the dual political advantages of sounding modest (two cents on the dollar) and, if it works as advertised, bringing in a lot of revenue—$2.75 trillion over ten years, the campaign says. Unlike the estate tax, it would be paid annually and applied to a base—those with the largest fortunes in the country—that has grown enormously over the past four decades, driven by soaring asset prices and a sharp rise in wealth concentration, especially at the very top.
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Well played!

Just Senator Warren letting the panicky fat cats create her campaign ads for free:

Have they ever been this afraid of Senator Shouty McWaggyfinger?

Election 2020 Open Thread: The Force of Positivity

Suddenly, the Very Serious People have… CONCERNS!

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Election 2020 Open Thread: Elizabeth Warren Celebrates *Every* Vote

From Vanity Fair, “GOP Strategists Fear Trump’s “Pocahontas” Thing Isn’t Working”:

Several strategists tell the Daily Beast that Trump was caught off guard by the resonance of Warren’s populist rhetoric—a skill set that in some ways mirrors his own, minus the mental effluvia and human rights violations—and said she might be “tougher” to compete against than he realized, repeatedly asking advisers whether they consider Warren to be a “fighter.” Others confessed that, despite their best efforts to comb her record for dirt and to workshop attacks, the GOP oppo machine has been struggling to land any blows. Sure, some of Warren’s proposals are pie-in-the-sky, and maybe the math is hazy, but have you listened to Donald Trump? One strategist suggested that conservative think tanks have been struggling to keep up with the sheer volume of white papers Warren has been generating.

It doesn’t help that anti-Warren stories haven’t gotten as much pickup in the media, mainstream or otherwise. “We all push out the bad Warren stories but they don’t go very far,” the source said—a point echoed by nearly a dozen others. “Sure the Republican base will ultimately loathe Warren, but she doesn’t inspire the same kind of historic vitriol that Hillary Clinton did,” one of the strategists told the Beast. “That, combined with fact that SCOTUS isn’t on the line as it was in ’16, and remembering that Trump needed the perfect inside straight to barely win last time, and any Democrat is going to be tough to beat, Warren included.”

Special note, for the Blogmaster:

Election 2020 Open Thread: Stanning for Senator President Warren

(Reminder: She launched her campaign at the site of the Bread & Roses Strike.)


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