Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have been neck and neck in the democratic race for the 2020 election. In their most recent battle, both senators proposed their own plan for a “wealth tax” if they’re elected. Warren announced her initial plan would enforce a 2% tax of wealth on households making an income of $50 million, which would be around 75,000 families, and a 3% tax on households with incomes above $1 billion. Warrens bill plans on bringing in up to $2.1 trillion over the course of 10 years.
Sanders, on the other hand, released his wealth tax plan after Warren, and after tweeting the statement “billionaires should not exist,” a bold statement followed by an even bolder plan. Sanders plans on implementing his tax on a lower level of wealth, starting with taxing 1% on households making $32 million annually, which would equate to 180,000 families. Wealth valued at over $500 million will be taxed at 4%, and wealth over $10 billion will be taxed at 8%. With his plan of action, Sanders plans on saving up to $4.35 trillion over the course of 10 years. To give an example, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, would pay around $9 billion in taxes this year if Sanders plan was currently being enforced. That’s more than the net worth of the 50 richest Americans, as listed by Forbes Magazine annually.
In addition, Bill Gates would be paying $8.6 billion, Mark Zuckerberg – $5.8 billion, Larry Page – 4.8 billion, and so on, according to NBC news. The money that would be saved over the course of a decade would be used for the national student debt crisis, health care and other expenses the government doesn’t provide enough for middle to lower class Americans.
Warren stated in an interview with the New York Times that “If we put that 2 cent wealth tax in place on the 75,000 largest fortunes in this country, 2 cents, we can do universal child care for every baby 0 to 5, universal pre-K, universal college, and knock back the student loan debt burden for 95 percent of our students and still have nearly a trillion dollars left over.”
61% of voters seem to support Warren’s plan, also according to the Times, and even Bill Gates said he would be on board with such a plan. If Warrens wealth tax had been imposed since the 1980’s Bill Gates would be currently worth around $38 billion as opposed to the actual $97 billion he’s worth. With Sanders plan he would be worth about $10 billion. Another example of how these plans would affect our current upper class would be that the 15 wealthiest Americans, currently, would be reduced by 54% under Warren’s plan, and a whopping 80% under Sanders plan. The ultimate goal is to make the 1% way less powerful than they already are, and actually take advantage of a “trickle down economy”.
Sanders has been criticized after tweeting his remark about billionaires that he’s making this tax plan as a means to take down Jeff Bezos specifically. Frankly, he is, and every other multi billionaire out there. There are so many statistics on the internet about how many of the worlds biggest problems could be simply solved just by making a small dent in someone like Bezos’ net worth. For instance, Bezos could solve world hunger about 5 times and still be one of the wealthiest men in America with the amount of money he has, I mean he does make around $3,000 every minute.
However, both have been criticized for having plans that seem “too good to be true” but realistically, they’re not. According to Slate Business, both Sanders and Warren’s plans show “a careful exercise in designing a progressive wealth tax that maximizes revenue while theoretically arresting, rather than just slowing, the growth of wealth inequality between billionaires and the middle class.”
That is the ultimate goal of these two Democratic candidates, to improve economic equality amongst all Americans and reduce the amount of hurdles in the system that lower class citizens must jump over to survive. The overall point of “billionaires shouldn’t exist” isn’t meant to say people who use their wealth and power for good, like Oprah, shouldn’t exist, but instead that no one individual should have the power to decide if they want to cure world hunger one day or not because of the extremely excessive amount of wealth they have. Both candidates have broken down their plans more finely so that everyone can understand that this will be advantageous for the whole country, and no one will be left at a disadvantage besides the middle and lower class if nothing continues to get done.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.