The Limits of a Wealth Tax
The American tax code is kind to billionaires. And billionaires can afford to assemble teams of advisers dedicated to innovating bespoke schemes for making our tax laws even more generous. As a result, the very richest among us routinely pay lower tax rates than working-class families.
All this has been apparent for a long time. But thanks to some public-spirited criminal with access to the closely guarded files of the IRS, the precise terms of the billionaire class’s sweetheart deal grew more visible this week. According to tax records leaked to ProPublica, between 2014 and 2018, the 25 richest Americans collectively grew $401 billion wealthier, while paying only 3.4 percent of that sum to Uncle Sam.
In response to this revelation, progressives have redoubled their calls for new taxes on the superrich in general and an annual levy on ultramillionaires’ wealth in particular. Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden have led this charge, flanked by legions of left-wing pundits. Their cause is a righteous one, but imposing an annual toll on Jeff Bezos’s fortune — and soaking the superrich …
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