Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called for a new tax at this weekend’s Vermont AFL-CIO annual convention: the wealth tax.
According to Sanders’ office, the proposal for a progressive estate tax works like so: The tax rate on estates valued from $3.5 million to $10 million would be 40 percent, those worth $10 million to $50 million would get a 50 percent levy, and estates worth more than $50 million would pay 55 percent.
If you’re worth more than $1 billion, you get slapped with an additional 10 percent tax.
Sanders argued this would pay down the national debt, reduce wealth inequality, and “pay for investments in infrastructure, education and other neglected national priorities.”
“A nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much while so many have so little,” Sanders told the convention. “We need a tax system which asks the billionaire class to pay its fair share of taxes and which reduces the obscene degree of wealth inequality in America.”
The senator got a supporter in former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, now a professor at University of California at Berkeley.
The country “is creating an aristocracy of wealth populated by heirs who don’t have to work for a living yet have great influence over how the nation’s productive assets are deployed,” Reich said, and Sanders’ bill would be “a welcome step toward reversing this trend.”
As the Senate returns from recess today, Sanders is getting a debate he’s long sought in the upper chamber as an amendment to reverse the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision on campaign finance comes to the floor.
“Billionaires buying elections is not what our Constitution stands for,” Sanders said in a statement Sunday. “The major issue of our time is whether the United States of America retains its democratic foundation or whether we devolve into an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires are able to control our political process by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who represent their interests.”