Elizabeth Warren's tax concept

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
72,252
40,356
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
I understand the logic, but begs the question how a wealth tax would work, given most assets are continuously-fluctuating valuations of non-liquidated stocks and options.
Yes, it does. The overwhelming majority of assets held by the uber-wealthy are not liquid.
Calling it unconstitutional on direct-tax grounds would seem arbitrary and hard for me to understand relative to the fact that the individual mandate penalty/tax was considered not a direct tax because Chief Justice Roberts said so.
Well, I would have to go back and read that case to argue the comparison or distinction, but that is why I said might. It could just as easily be considered more analogous to the estate tax, which almost certainly involves a similar valuation of assets. (I took a class in Estate & Gift Tax, and still have my text somewhere, but I have never needed to use it and so do not remember any of it. But this issue is probably not in there, anyway.)
 
Oct 2018
2,726
3,446
Somewhere they can't find me.
My wife is a cousin to Johnny Morris founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, who is worth more than 5.1 billion. He doesn't pay his fair share of taxes as he has many reasons. One is, he has claimed over 90 million people has benefited from his sports business for their health, and he can claims that on his taxes.

I doubt that would wash on an IRS audit.
 
Feb 2011
16,329
5,676
Boise, ID
Never seen an industrialized nation with a worse wealth inequality problem, we are worse than many third world countries.

America Is the Richest, and Most Unequal, Country
You recite this almost daily. The GINI coefficient is distorted by the fact that a very disproportionate share of the world's richest people call the country home. If we had a population of 30 million people or fewer, a GINI score this exaggerated would be inexcusable. But we have one of the world's most populous nations. If all the people in the U.S. worth $100 million or more became permanent citizens of another country, would the U.S. score better on the GINI? Sure. Way better. Would the U.S. be better off for it, in any way? Not really, not that I can think of.

The people who suffer most in this country suffer because of complex problems in their lives, their minds, their families, and their communities. They don't be come any better off by taking money away from the ultra-rich. Whether we tax the shit out of the ultra-rich, or we chase them out of the country with Draconian taxes, or whatever we do with respect to the ultra-rich, the people suffering worst in this country experience virtually zero improvement in their condition. These people need direct help. They don't benefit from the ultra-rich becoming less rich.

I think most leftists consumed with economic measures of inequality actually give absolutely zero shits about the actual people that are desperately poor and have miserable lives, and have zero intelligent ideas about what to do about those problems. I think they're fueled only by rage at the thought that someone has ridiculously more money than they can possibly enjoy or care about.
 
Sep 2014
4,504
1,332
South FL
Calling it unconstitutional on direct-tax grounds
Well direct taxes aren't per se unconstitutional. There's a different constitutional problem, specifically Art I, Sec 9 (4) which requires that direct taxes be apportioned among the states on the basis of population. And that makes it somewhat impractical to levy.

would seem arbitrary and hard for me to understand relative to the fact that the individual mandate penalty/tax was considered not a direct tax because Chief Justice Roberts said so.
Well there are basically three direct taxes. A capitation tax, a tax on personal property and a tax on real property. In the Obamacare ruling essentially Roberts argued the mandate was not a capitation tax because not everybody had to pay it. Now, whether you buy that argument or not, that doesn't really have much to do with property taxes.

"Over the years, courts have considered numerous claims that one or another nonapportioned tax is a direct tax and therefore unconstitutional.   Although these cases have not definitively marked the boundary between taxes that must be apportioned and taxes that need not be, see Bromley v. McCaughn, 280 U.S. 124, 136, 50 S.Ct. 46, 74 L.Ed. 226 (1929);  Spreckels Sugar Ref. Co. v. McClain, 192 U.S. 397, 413, 24 S.Ct. 376, 48 L.Ed. 496 (1904) (dividing line between “taxes that are direct and those which are to be regarded simply as excises” is “often very difficult to be expressed in words”), some characteristics of each may be discerned.

Only three taxes are definitely known to be direct:  (1) a capitation, U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, (2) a tax upon real property, and (3) a tax upon personal property.   See Fernandez v. Wiener, 326 U.S. 340, 352, 66 S.Ct. 178, 90 L.Ed. 116 (1945) (“Congress may tax real estate or chattels if the tax is apportioned”);  Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co., 158 U.S. 601, 637, 15 S.Ct. 912, 39 L.Ed. 1108 (1895) (Pollock II ).**  Such direct taxes are laid upon one's “general ownership of property,” Bromley, 280 U.S. at 136, 50 S.Ct. 46;  see also Flint v. Stone Tracy Co., 220 U.S. 107, 149, 31 S.Ct. 342, 55 L.Ed. 389 (1911), as contrasted with excise taxes laid “upon a particular use or enjoyment of property or the shifting from one to another of any power or privilege incidental to the ownership or enjoyment of property." - FindLaw's United States DC Circuit case and opinions.

NFIB v Sebellius -


"Even if the taxing power enables Congress to impose a tax on not obtaining health insurance, any tax must still comply with other requirements in the Constitution. Plaintiffs argue that the shared responsibility payment does not do so, citing Article I, §9, clause 4. That clause provides: “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.” This requirement means thatany “direct Tax” must be apportioned so that each State pays in proportion to its population. According to the plaintiffs, if the individual mandate imposes a tax, it is adirect tax, and it is unconstitutional because Congress made no effort to apportion it among the States.
Even when the Direct Tax Clause was written it was unclear what else, other than a capitation (also known asa “head tax” or a “poll tax”), might be a direct tax. See Springer v. United States, 102 U. S. 586, 596–598 (1881).Soon after the framing, Congress passed a tax on ownership of carriages, over James Madison’s objection that it was an unapportioned direct tax. Id., at 597. This Court upheld the tax, in part reasoning that apportioning sucha tax would make little sense, because it would have required taxing carriage owners at dramatically different rates depending on how many carriages were in their home State. See Hylton v. United States, 3 Dall. 171, 174 (1796) (opinion of Chase, J.). The Court was unanimous, and those Justices who wrote opinions either directly asserted or strongly suggested that only two forms of taxation were direct: capitations and land taxes. See id., at 175; id., at 177 (opinion of Paterson, J.); id., at 183 (opinion of Iredell, J.).
That narrow view of what a direct tax might be persisted for a century. In 1880, for example, we explained that “direct taxes, within the meaning of the Constitution, are only capitation taxes, as expressed in that instrument
and taxes on real estate.” Springer, supra, at 602. In 1895, we expanded our interpretation to include taxes onpersonal property and income from personal property, inthe course of striking down aspects of the federal income tax. Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co., 158 U. S. 601, 618 (1895). That result was overturned by the SixteenthAmendment, although we continued to consider taxes onpersonal property to be direct taxes. See Eisner v. Macomber, 252 U. S. 189, 218–219 (1920).
A tax on going without health insurance does not fall within any recognized category of direct tax. It is not a capitation. Capitations are taxes paid by every person, “without regard to property, profession, or any other circumstance.” Hylton, supra, at 175 (opinion of Chase, J.) (emphasis altered). The whole point of the shared responsibility payment is that it is triggered by specific circumstances—earning a certain amount of income but not obtaining health insurance. The payment is also plainly not a tax on the ownership of land or personal property. The shared responsibility payment is thus not a direct tax that must be apportioned among the several States." - https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=2ahUKEwiYtdj9wYrgAhXpSt8KHdj3BMoQFjAAegQIBxAC&url=https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf&usg=AOvVaw06d-jhK6STnlGsHLfLnk8- (emphasis supplied)
 
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Nov 2006
53,401
19,533
You recite this almost daily. The GINI coefficient is distorted by the fact that a very disproportionate share of the world's richest people call the country home. If we had a population of 30 million people or fewer, a GINI score this exaggerated would be inexcusable. But we have one of the world's most populous nations. If all the people in the U.S. worth $100 million or more became permanent citizens of another country, would the U.S. score better on the GINI? Sure. Way better. Would the U.S. be better off for it, in any way? Not really, not that I can think of.

The people who suffer most in this country suffer because of complex problems in their lives, their minds, their families, and their communities. They don't be come any better off by taking money away from the ultra-rich. Whether we tax the shit out of the ultra-rich, or we chase them out of the country with Draconian taxes, or whatever we do with respect to the ultra-rich, the people suffering worst in this country experience virtually zero improvement in their condition. These people need direct help. They don't benefit from the ultra-rich becoming less rich.

I think most leftists consumed with economic measures of inequality actually give absolutely zero shits about the actual people that are desperately poor and have miserable lives, and have zero intelligent ideas about what to do about those problems. I think they're fueled only by rage at the thought that someone has ridiculously more money than they can possibly enjoy or care about.
You say these people need direct help but 275 billion dollars a year could not provide some of that?
 
Nov 2006
53,401
19,533
No you posted an article exaggerating the farmer issue. And I'm against tarrifs, perhaps you should stick to arguments I make, not the ones you wish I made.
There is no exaggerating the farm issue. China was the largest importer of our #1 export crop soybeans to the tune of over 30 million metric tons and around 18 billion dollars.

Trump's tariffs are wreaking havoc on farmers
U.S. exports of the product (soybeans) to China are down more than 90 percent for the year. And China imported zero American soybeans in November 2018.

In order to mitigate the damage to farmers and ranchers from the fallout from his trade wars, the president and the Department of Agriculture dusted off a New Deal-era program under the Commodity Credit Corporation called the Market Facilitation Program. The program will provide $12 billion in incremental payments to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, and hogs, all of which are subject to foreign retaliation.


A "new deal" program? Wonderful, republicans always loved the new deal didn't they?



U.S. soybean exports to China are down 98 percent in 2018.
The incredible U.S.-to-China soybean nosedive, in one chart

Soybean giant Brazil swoops on US crop as China trade war punctures prices
Who’s winning the US-China trade war? When it comes to soybeans, the answer is Brazil. The South American nation is capitalising on the strife caused by US President Donald Trump’s trade war to profit from both China and America in soybean trade.

Brazil swoops on US soybean as China trade war punctures prices


Brazil is even importing some soybeans from the US because the price has dropped about 20%, they don't have the tariff that china does, then they sell them to China at a profit. Good job mr president, you have fucking destroyed the nations largest export crop and now must provide 12 billion a year to the American farmer in subsidies (welfare).
 

Blueneck

Former Staff
Jun 2007
52,769
38,715
Ohio
I'd like for this to include a specification that this money be used for paying off debt exclusively. Unless we an get single payer passed, in which case I'm fine with this being seed money.

Because if Dems win in 2020, all we're going to hear from Republicans is "no you can't, we're broke" again. And certainly don't want the money to be spent to offer "incentives" to the same billionaires it came from to open shop somewhere.
 
Nov 2006
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I understand the logic, but begs the question how a wealth tax would work, given most assets are continuously-fluctuating valuations of non-liquidated stocks and options.
I'm not saying I am for it but don't see why it would be that difficult to tax someones assets. If a bank can easily determine someones assets prior to getting a loan why can't the IRS do the same thing to determine them for an asset tax? What difference does it make if they fluctuate, you make the determination at tax time. All the arguments against such a thing are because it's hard to determine? Baloney. Also keep in mind we are only talking about the top 0.1%, we aren't talking about doing this for everyone.
 
Nov 2006
53,401
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I'd like for this to include a specification that this money be used for paying off debt exclusively. Unless we an get single payer passed, in which case I'm fine with this being seed money.

Because if Dems win in 2020, all we're going to hear from Republicans is "no you can't, we're broke" again. And certainly don't want the money to be spent to offer "incentives" to the same billionaires it came from to open shop somewhere.
yes but if both houses have a super majority of democrats and we have a democratic president who gives a shit what the repubs have to say?
 

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