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Bernie Sanders Proposes a Wealth Tax, Taking Aim at Billionaires



WASHINGTON – Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday unveiled a proposal to create a new tax on the wealth of richest Americans, including a steep tax on billionaires that could greatly diminish their fortunes.

With the proposal, Mr. Sanders is embracing an idea that has been the centerpiece of the campaign of his top progressive rival, Senator Elizabeth Warren. But while Ms. Mr. Warren came first, Mr. Sanders is going bigger. His wealth tax would apply to a larger number of households, impose a higher top rate and raise more money.

Mr. Sanders' plan to tax accumulated wealth, not just income, is particularly aggressive in how it would erode the fortunes of billionaires. His tax would cut in half the wealth of the typical billionaire after 1

5 years, according to two economists who worked with the Sanders campaign on the plan. Mr. Sanders would use the money generated by his wealth tax on a housing plan he released last week and a forthcoming plan for universal child care, as well as helping pay for “Medicare for all.”

“Let me be very clear : As President of the United States, I will reduce the outrageous and grotesque and immoral levels of income and wealth inequality, ”Mr. Sanders said in an interview. “What we are trying to do is demand and implement a policy that significantly affects income and wealth inequality in America by telling the wealthiest families in this country they cannot have so much wealth.”

Mr. Sanders, of Vermont, would create an annual tax that would apply to households with a net worth above $ 32 million – about 180,000 households in total, or about the top 0.1 percent, according to economists who worked on the plan.

would create a 1 percent tax on net worth above $ 32 million, with increasing marginal rates topping out at 8 percent on net worth over $ 10 billion. For single filers, the brackets would be halved, meaning the tax would kick in at $ 16 million.

By contrast, the wealth tax proposed by Ms. Warren, of Massachusetts, would apply to households with a net worth above $ 50 million – an estimated 70,000 homes in total.

The structure of her plan is simpler: She would apply a 2 percent tax on net worth from $ 50 million to $ 1 billion, and a 3 percent tax on net worth above $ 1 billion. Unlike the Sanders plan, the tax brackets would be the same for married and single filers.


  • $ 32 million to $ 50 million net worth: 1 percent marginal tax rate

  • $ 50 million to $ 250 million: 2 percent

  • $ 250 million to $ 500 million: 3 percent

  • $ 500 million to $ 1 billion: 4 percent

  • $ 1 billion to $ 2.5 billion: 5 percent

  • $ 2.5 billion to $ 5 billion: 6 percent

  • $ 5 billion to $ 10 billion: 7 percent

  • Over $ 10 billion: 8 percent

Note: The brackets shown for the Sanders proposal are for married filers; the brackets would be halved for single filers. The Warren proposal uses the same brackets for married and single filers.



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