Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) raised eyebrows when she called for a wealth tax instead of just taxes on income. But in fact, the proposal enjoys wide support among most Americans.
According to a new poll from Politico and Morning Consult conducted in early February, 61 percent of respondents said they would be in favor of a tax on wealth such as the one Warren proposed. Only 20 percent of those surveyed opposed the idea, and 19 percent weren’t sure either way. Among those who supported the idea include nearly 75 percent of Democrats, 50 percent of Republicans, and 56 percent of independents.
The tax is even more popular than Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-New York) proposed 70 percent top marginal tax rate on incomes exceeding $10 million/year. The Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 45 percent of respondents supported the new top rate, 32 percent were opposed, and the remaining 23 percent were unsure. However, another recent poll has shown a high level of support for Ocasio-Cortez’s plan. A January survey from The Hill and HarrisX found that 59 percent of respondents — including 45 percent of Republicans — supported the proposed new rate.
Sen. Warren refers to her wealth tax as the “Ultra-Millionaire Tax,” as it would only affect the richest 75,000 households in the U.S. If her plan became law, all net worths exceeding $50 million would be taxed every year at two percent, and all net worth above $1 billion would be taxed at three percent. The wealth tax would generate approximately $2.75 trillion in revenue each decade according to economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.
In addition to Warren, prospective 2020 candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is also taxing wealth in the form of estate tax brackets. Last week, Sanders rolled out his “For the 99.8% Tax” that would tax inheritances of more than $3.5 million at 45 percent, with gradually higher estate tax rates for estates worth $10 million, $50 million, and $1 billion.
One policy seen as a litmus test for 2020 Democratic candidates is Medicare for All, which has also polled well by one of the pollsters that conducted the survey on Warren’s wealth tax. As Grit Post previously reported, a Politico/Harvard poll from January found that 68 percent of Americans preferred a national health plan, like Medicare for All, over the current system.
While it would be easy to cast ideas like a wealth tax, Medicare for All, and a 70% rate on incomes above $10 million as radical leftist policies, all of the recent polling done on those initiatives suggests that they are in fact mainstream proposals that have won the approval of mainstream Americans.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.