In her bid to tax the wealthiest Americans to fund a Green New Deal, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) might’ve found an unlikely ally in a fellow New Yorker: Donald Trump.
Not President Donald Trump, of course. He’s the architect of a major tax cut that was a great boon to the richest Americans. But the Donald Trump who was leading the Reform Party in a Presidential bid in 2000.
“By imposing a one-time 14.25 percent net-worth tax on the richest individuals and trusts, we can put America on sound financial footing for the next century,” Trump wrote in his 2000 book The America We Deserve. “The plan would cost me $700 million personally in the short term, but it would be worth it.”
The scale was much smaller than Ocasio-Cortez’s plan to increase the marginal tax rate, but it was aiming at solving what was (at the time) a smaller problem, and one he was comfortable hanging his political hat on: the national debt. He was following in the footsteps of Ross Perot in this particular tack and did so with signature gusto.
“When was the last time you heard a major politician warning of economic downturn? It’s just not in the vocabulary of any public figure. Except mine,” Trump said at the time.
And now, concern over the national debt is on almost everyone’s lips except Trump’s.
Of course, 2000 Donald Trump isn’t Ocasio-Cortez’s only ally in taxing the rich — Republican Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon both taxed the wealthy more heavily that her plan. So do some of the happiest countries in the world today. So do most Americans.
Trump from 2000 would also be an ally to Ocasio-Cortez in making a case for Medicare for All, as in the same book he called for universal healthcare.
“I’m a conservative on most issues but a liberal on this one. We should not hear so many stories of families ruined by healthcare expenses.” he wrote. “We must have universal healthcare.”
Not only had he carried his support for universal coverage into the White House, but even praised Australia’s single-payer healthcare. Souring on it in 2018 seemed almost to come as a surprise, so much so that Axios explored his record in favor of the idea.
It could be argued that, in fact, the most startling criticism of President Donald Trump continues to be the thoughts and opinions of private citizen Donald Trump.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.