US Democratic lawmakers seek to tax ultra-rich

Democratic Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren directs a question toward Xavier Becerra during the Senate Finance Committee hearing on Becerra's nomination to be secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 24, 2021. - If confirmed, Becerra would be the first Latino secretary of HHS. (Photo by MICHAEL REYNOLDS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic lawmakers led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduced a proposal Monday to implement a 3-percent tax on wealth greater than $1 billion.

The proposed Ultra-Millionaire Act would implement a 2-percent annual tax on the net worth of households and trusts ranging from $50 million to $1 billion and an additional 1% annual surtax – for an overall tax of 3 percent – for those exceeding $1 billion.

“The ultra-rich and powerful have rigged the rules in their favor so much that the top 0.1 percent pay a lower effective tax rate than the bottom 99 percent and billionaire wealth is 40-percent higher than before the Covid crisis began,” Warren said.

An analysis by economists at the University of California, Berkeley found that about 100,000 Americans or fewer than 1 in 1,000 families would be subject to the wealth tax in 2023 and that it would raise about $3 trillion over between 2023 and 2032.

“Wealth at the top has boomed during the Covid crisis. Billionaires wealth has literally exploded while many Americans struggle with job and income loss,” University of California-Berkeley economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman said. “The ultra-millionaire wealth tax is the most direct and powerful tool to curb growing wealth concentration in the U.S. and make sure the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share in taxes.”

The bill would also invest $100 billion to rebuild and strengthen IRS systems and personnel, ensure a 30-percent audit rate for the super wealthy and impose a 40-percent exit tax on Americans who attempt to renounce their citizenship to avoid a wealth tax.

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