Bernie Sanders unveils new wealth tax plan: 'Billionaires should not exist'
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday morning unveiled a sweeping plan to tax the wealth of the richest Americans, including one that he said would slash the wealth of billionaires in the U.S.
The Democratic presidential candidate followed a similar model introduced in Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax plan -- who has made taxing the rich a pinnacle of her presidential campaign -- but took it a step further.
“There is no justice when three billionaires are able to own more wealth than the bottom half of the entire country,” Sanders said in a tweet.
Under the plan, the Sanders campaign said it would levy these taxes on married couples:
- 1 percent on married couples with a net worth above $32 million (meaning a couple worth $32.5 million would pay $5,000 annually in taxes)
- 2 percent on those worth $50 million to $250 million
- 3 percent on $250 million to $500 million
- 4 percent on $500 million to $1 billion
- 5 percent on $1 billion to $2.5 billion
- 6 percent from $2.5 billion to $5 billion
- 7 percent from $5 billion to $10 billion
- 8 percent on wealth over $10 billion
- For individuals, all of the brackets would be cut in half
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By comparison, Warren proposed a 2 percent tax on individuals with a net worth above $50 million and a 3 percent tax on those with more than $1 billion in assets. Warren's campaign said the tax -- intended to combat rising income inequality -- would apply to less than 0.1 percent of the population, or roughly 75,000 families, while Sanders' campaign said his tax would impact 180,000 families.
Critics have questioned the legality of a wealth tax in the U.S. (Both Warren and Sanders came prepared for accusations that it might be unconstitutional, citing prominent legal academics saying their separate plans passed muster.)