Why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 70% Marginal Tax Rate Isn’t Radical | Op-Ed | NowThis

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Published on 17 Jan 2019, 15:00
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 70% marginal tax rate isn’t that radical, nor would it take all of a multi-millionaire’s money. But Republicans don’t want you to know that.
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Jackson C Davis: 'Conservatives have a new reason to obsess over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: She just proposed increasing the top marginal tax rate to 70%.

By the way, that look of sheer terror on Anderson Cooper’s face as AOC says she’s coming after the ultra-wealthy is brought to you by him literally being descended from the Vanderbilt family.

But I digress, let’s actually dissect what AOC said in this clip, or more importantly, what she didn’t say.

She is not saying that an individual’s entire income should be taxed at 70%. She is saying income over $10 million should be taxed at a higher rate than its current 37%.

So, if you make ten million and one dollars this year, the first ten million would be taxed like they are now, nothing changes. Which is good for people like me, who scrape by on just over ten million a year. So who does it affect?

Imagine you are the world’s wealthiest person, so wealthy in fact, you could solve world hunger if you weren’t too busy coming up with new medieval ways to torture your factory workers. Let’s call you, I don’t know, Beff Jezos or something. If you’re Beff Jezos, congrats! You are part of the 16,000 Americans, the 0.05%, that AOC’s tax plan would affect. For the rest of you 99.5% of Americans, carry on! Enjoy your quality, free-at-the-point-of-service, health care we’re gonna be able to pay for now.

That’s how marginal tax rates work. That distinction is important.

But it’s a distinction Republicans are pretending doesn’t exist.

Steve Scalise, the House Republican Whip, attempted to gaslight Americans with a seriously misleading tweet.

Grover Norquist, whose lobbying firm, Americans for Tax Reform, is financed by, you guessed it, billionaires, compared taxing the rich to slavery.

And of course, Fox News could barely contain their excitement to have yet another opportunity to badly misrepresent what that crazy Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said this time!

So why are well-known Republicans pretending to not know how marginal tax rates work? I'm sure they wouldn't purposefully scare Americans into thinking Democrats are sending them into the gulag, or worse, a Scandinavian welfare state.

Conservatives argue that by taxing the rich, Americans would lose all incentive to strive to become the next Michael Bloomberg, or Jeff Bezos, or Bill Gates, which I just want to go on the record and say I’d be totally cool with, but there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to back that up claim. There is simply no correlation between lowering taxes for the rich and an increase in economic growth. There is data, however, that slashing taxes for the ultra-wealthy increases income inequality. Funny how that works.

Here’s the bottom line: AOC’s idea to raise the top tax rate to 70% isn’t radical. In fact, it wouldn’t even be historic. In the 1950s, you know, that idyllic decade that conservatives get all warm and fuzzy about but tend to gloss over what it was like for people of color, LGBTQ people, women, people with disabilities, immigrants, anyway, the top tax rate during that time was 91%, and it was set by a Republican president, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

So maybe we should be asking AOC, hey, why don’t you want the wealthy to pay their fair share?'

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