When Elizabeth Warren proposed a Thomas Piketty-style wealth tax (2% annually on family fortunes over $50m, 1% more on fortunes over $1b), she ballparked the returns at $1.9-2.75t over the first ten years.
Her opponents disagreed with her math, saying that the 75,000 US households whom the tax would apply to would never sit still for this kind of thing, and instead they would spend fortunes moving even larger fortunes offshore, hiding them in tax-havens, or even surrendering their US residency and citizenship.
This is a common response to any progressive taxation proposal, and while I've known a few people who cashed out big on startups and effectively went into exile in the Grand Caymans or wherever rather than paying tax, most of them ended up getting terminally bored living in a place full of drunken wastrels and trustafarians and moved back home, paid their tax, and got stuck in doing their Next Thing. If you're a genuinely driven entrepreneur, yacht life is fucking boring and besides, paying 2% annually on the portion of your fortune exceeding $50,000,000 is not going to leave you a pauper. Neither you nor your kids nor their kids would ever have to work again if you managed that sum carefully.
Now, a CNBC poll has found that 60% of American millionaires support Warren's wealth-tax; at the "upper tier" of Americans with a net worth in excess of $5m, the proposal enjoys 66% support.
Other redistributive policies had different showings: while there was strong support for AOC's proposed 70% top rate of income tax, other proposals like eliminating mortgage deductions (which subsidize home owners but leave renters, who tend to be poorer, out in the cold) or Ron Wyden's plan to tax unrealized capital gains, are polling poorly.
Polls show that a majority of Americans also back a wealth tax. But the support from millionaires, some of whom would presumably pay the tax, shows that some millionaires are willing to accept higher taxes amidst growing concern over inequality and soaring fortunes of the rich.
While 88% of Democrats support the wealth tax, 62% of independents support it along with 36% of Republicans. Even the upper tier of millionaires, those worth more than $5 million, support a wealth tax, with two-thirds in favor.
(Image: Elizabeth Warren, CC-BY)
(via Naked Capitalism)