Bernie Sanders calls for income over $1 billion to be taxed at 100%
Longtime wealth tax advocate Senator Bernie Sanders has argued that all earnings above $1 billion in the U.S. should be confiscated by the government.
In an interview with HBO Max’s “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?”, the Vermont Senator was questioned about his longstanding view that billionaires should not exist.
“Are you basically saying that once you get to $999 million, the government should confiscate all the rest?” he was asked—to which Sanders responded: “Yeah.”
“You may disagree with me but I think people can make it on $999 million,” Sanders added. “I think that they can survive just fine.”
Earlier this year, Sanders published a book titled “It’s OK To Be Angry About Capitalism.” During Friday’s show, he responded to questions on whether billionaires could actually boost the economy by creating employment.
“You can have a vibrant economy without [a handful of] people owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society,” he said, adding that if he had things his way those making “a whole lot of money” would have to “pay a whole lot of money.”
Sanders has long touted the idea of imposing much higher taxes on the wealthiest factions of U.S. society, proposing a wealth tax in 2019 when he was running to be the Democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential election.
The Vermont independent senator called for the richest 0.1% of American households—or those with a net worth of more than $32 million—to be liable for a new annual tax, with the tax rate increasing with net worth.
Under his proposal, a married couple with a net worth of $32 million would have paid a 1% wealth tax, while wealth over $10 billion would have been taxed at 8%.
“Under this plan, the wealth of billionaires would be cut in half over 15 years which would substantially break up the concentration of wealth and power of this small privileged class,” Sanders argued during his campaign.
Sanders dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination seven months before the election, admitting that the “path toward victory is virtually impossible” despite his campaign enjoying a strong start.
It was the second time Sanders had run to compete in the presidential election, running against Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Taxing the wealth of America’s uber-rich has garnered support from many high-profile individuals in recent years, including Ray Dalio, Mark Cuban and Disney heiress Abigail Disney.
The American public also appears to support the concept of hiking taxes on the elite, with 57% of Americans saying billionaires were taxed too little in the U.S. in a YouGov poll last year.
An earlier poll, conducted by Reuters and Ipsos in 2020, found that the majority of 4,441 Americans believed the very rich should “contribute an extra share of their total wealth each year to support public programs.”