Americans Want Wealth Tax On Ultra-Wealthy

Do you pay enough, or even too much, in federal taxes?

Few people think their personal taxes should be higher.  It’s more typical that taxpayers think they pay enough, or even too much, but can point to another group that should be putting a little more in the kitty.  According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, most of us identify one group that should be paying more, the very rich.

President Trump says it’s a socialist idea, while presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren fully embrace it.  The notion is a wealth tax applied to those with holdings above some astronomical threshold like $50 million.  As it turns out, lots of us are comfortable with the idea.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll that found nearly two-thirds of respondents agree that the very rich should pay more.

Out of more than 4,400 people surveyed, 64% strongly or somewhat agree that “the very rich should contribute an extra share of their total wealth each year to support public programs.”

Note that this is not about higher income taxes, this is about shaving off a portion of what someone holds, which makes it a wealth tax.

This doesn’t split along party lines.  While more Democrats (77%) favor the idea, a majority of Republicans (53%), were also good with it.

Some people tried to split the difference between freedom and taxes.

Esin Zimmerman, 53, a lifelong Republican from Madison, Minnesota who favors a wealth tax, said:

“Rich people have a right to blow their money on Lamborghinis and world-wide cruises or whatever.  But that money could be used in other ways that help people.”

Wealth taxes are notoriously hard to enforce because typically it’s not held in easily quantifiable forms such as cash or stock.  If a person owns a $50 million home outright, is it taxed?  What about art, or a family business?  Most countries that tried a wealth tax have scrapped it.

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