Taxing the wealthy is a hot issue among Democratic candidates for president. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is proposing an annual wealth tax on the richest households, while other candidates are proposing higher taxes on incomes, estates, capital gains, and corporations. Yet, these proposals run counter to the international trend of declining tax rates on capital income and wealth. The number of European countries with a Warren-style wealth tax has fallen from 12 in 1990 to just 3 today. In a new study, Cato scholar Chris Edwards discusses why targeting wealth for higher taxation is misguided, and argues that the best approach would be a consumption-based tax system. Such a system would tax capital income but in a simpler way that does not stifle investment and economic growth.
As the list of Democratic presidential candidates grows, so do their promises. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and others have all backed the Green New Deal, which promises to address climate change and inequality by providing universal health care and creating millions of jobs. However, while the GND has lots of warm and fuzzy language, the climate change-curbing veneer amounts to a Trojan horse for a bigger nationalization of the economy than seen under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Cato scholars have discussed the plan’s fatal flaws.