by Nicholas Ballasy
A group of Democratic lawmakers and the Patriotic Millionaires, an organization of high-income and high net worth individuals favoring higher taxes on the wealthy, are calling on Congress to pass a 90 percent income tax on incomes above $100 million as fears of a recession are growing.
Abigail Disney, a documentary filmmaker who is the granddaughter of Roy Disney, cofounder of The Walt Disney Company, joined the lawmakers to call for higher taxes on “extremely high income.”
“My grandfather paid a 90% marginal tax rate on his income, and he amassed plenty of wealth in the process,” she said at a news conference on Tuesday. “That means rates of up to 90% on incomes over $100 million.”
The Patriotic Millionaires are also advocating taxing “all income over $1 million the same regardless of how it is generated, including capital gains income and inheritance income,” according to a press release about the organization’s latest tax proposal.
California Democratic Rep. Jimmy Gomez said his tax reform proposal, which Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders is sponsoring in the Senate, would raise estate tax or “death tax” rates. The Republicans implemented a phase-out of the estate tax.
“Our bill will help narrow the wealth gap and raise much needed revenue for investment in the benefits that help working families and our constituents who aren’t in line to inherit a fortune,” he said.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Progressive Caucus, is a cosponsor of the Gomez legislation.
Jayapal also said Congress should pass a bill she introduced with Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren that would impose a 2 percent “annual tax on the net worth of households and trusts between $50 million and $1 billion” as well as a 1 percent “annual surtax (3% tax overall) on the net worth of households and trusts above $1 billion.”
“Our society has been rigged to favor the wealthy,” she said. “This is a solution that would give average people a fair shake.”
Critics of the Democrats’ proposal argue that wealthy Americans who support raising taxes should voluntarily pay more in taxes to lead by example. Morris Pearl, chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, was asked for his response to that argument.
“I think what we’re trying to do is to change the system,” he said.
Opponents of raising income taxes point to the fragile state of the U.S. economy, which could be heading into a recession.
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Nicholas Ballasy has been breaking news for more than a decade in the nation’s capital and questioning political leaders about the most pressing issues facing the nation. Since 2008, Ballasy has interviewed former President Bill Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former President Donald Trump, Sen. Mitt Romney, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. John McCain, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and more.
Photo “Tax the Rich Poster” by Tax Le Rich. CC BY 2.0.