— Murshed Zaheed ?? (@murshedz) September 10, 2019
As someone in the financial services business, my theory has always been that what scares finance types most is that she understands the business better than they’d like and knows where the bodies are buried. THAT is what scares them, not the lefty policies.
— Arnold Layne (@arnielayne) September 11, 2019
"Eat the rich and elect President Warren" needs to go on some rogue merch immediately https://t.co/eyW9cTB8bI
— laura olin (@lauraolin) September 11, 2019
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.