Americans support wealth tax
The idea of taxing the wealth of the richest Americans has sparked a sharp divergence of views across the political spectrum. US President Donald Trump has branded progressive Democratic presidential candidates Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders as socialists for clearly supporting such fiscal measures..
However, it could have widespread public support, according to a Reuters / Ipsos poll that found almost two-thirds of respondents agree that the super-rich should pay more..
Of 4,441 respondents, 64% fully or to some extent agreed that «the very rich must contribute an additional share of their total wealth annually to support government programs» – the essence of the wealth tax. The results were similar for gender, race, and household income. While support among Democrats was stronger (77%), a majority of Republicans (53%) also agreed with this idea..
Property tax is levied on the net assets of individuals such as stocks, bonds and real estate, as well as cash, similar in concept to property taxes. It is separate from income tax, which applies to, among other things, wages, interest and dividends.
When asked whether should «let the very rich keep their money, even if it means increasing inequality» 54% of respondents answered negatively.
«Rich people have the right to spend their money on “Lamborghini” and cruises around the world or something, says Esin Zimmerman, 53, a Republican from Madison, Minnesota who wants to raise taxes for the rich for life. – But this money can be used in other ways that help people».
Zimmerman said she would especially support a property tax that would help pay for government programs for veterans of the U.S. military or help single parents with young children.. «It can build a border wall», – she said.
Sociologists’ findings may reflect how economic changes over the past 20 years, from globalization to the financial crisis, have shaped societal attitudes toward economic policy..
According to Gallup polls, concerns about the rich paying too little actually subsided during the 1990s and early 2000s, a period of relative boom for the United States. But fears grew during the crisis years from 2007 to 2009, from 55% to over 60% as of 2016..
Here’s how average Americans are responding to the Democratic wealth tax proposal
Reuters / Ipsos results show even stronger support for the annual collection on total wealth, not just income. Warren and Sanders touted the idea as a way to help pay for big social programs like Medicare for All and reverse the skyrocketing share of wealth held by the richest Americans, known as «1 percent».
The survey also indicates a change in attitudes towards mainstream ideas such as «keeping what you earn».
It is a concept central to the cornerstone of capitalism. «winner takes it all», received mixed reviews. While 56% of Republicans agreed that the very rich should keep what they have regardless of their impact on inequality, 35% of Republicans disagreed with this statement, as did 71% of Democrats..
Republican supporters interviewed by Reuters said they did not see their support for wealth tax conflicting with their party’s ideals or their support for Trump..
Katie Herron, 56, a Republican living in Santa Rosa, California, said her support for Trump – the self-proclaimed billionaire – stems from his tough policies on illegal immigration. In her opinion, it would be good for the president to support higher taxes on wealthy Americans.. «We’re taxed inside and out, but the rich don’t seem to pay their share», – she said.
In particular, in recent years, major economic institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve have taken seriously the argument that high levels of wealth and income inequality can be politically disruptive as well as negatively impact economic growth..
At the latest Fed policy meeting, staff presented a study of how differences in credit availability for American families can worsen a recession – this test shows how unequal household starting points can affect overall national outcomes..
Economic and market trends have likely increased people’s doubts about who is moving forward and how fast. Since the start of the 10-year recovery in 2009, the US Federal Reserve said the 1% of the super-wealthy Americans have jumped from 27.8% to 32.2% in national net worth, driven by a record boom in the stock market..
Trump has cited the rise in stock markets as a pivotal point in his campaign, which focuses on historically low unemployment and tariff trade policies that he says will help restore manufacturing jobs..
But this did not change the picture of the country’s wealth. While the share of wealth held by 50% of low-income Americans has increased to 1.5% since the crisis, this trend is declining in the long term, and its share is less than half of what it was in 1989. The middle and upper middle classes – or all other Americans except the richest 1% – all fell victim to the crisis.
Millions of Americans Won’t Feel the Stock Market Boom