Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) floated the idea of a 70% top marginal tax rate, in an interview with Anderson Cooper on 60 minutes, giving conservatives yet another reason to obsess over the House’s most widely covered member.
But what does an increased marginal tax rate really mean?
Turns out, it isn’t all that radical. 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez is not saying that an individual’s entire income should be taxed at 70%, despite what some Republicans like Steve Scalise are leading Americans to believe with misinformed tweets.
Republicans: Let Americans keep more of their own hard-earned money
Democrats: Take away 70% of your income and give it to leftist fantasy programs https://t.co/NxJPSCqvrt
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) January 5, 2019
What AOC is proposing is that income over $10 million should be taxed at a higher rate than its current 37%. And not only is this increase not radical, it wouldn’t even be historic. In the 1950s, the top tax rate was 91%, and it was set by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, so if anything, AOC’s increase wasn’t enough.
The increased marginal tax rate Ocasio-Cortez is floating is part of a larger plan to help fund a “Green New Deal” that aims to drastically curb America’s carbon dioxide emissions. The increase would mpact 16,000 people, that’s .05% of all Americans. And again, it would only affect each dollar after $10 million, not the entirety of their income, an important distinction Republicans like Grover Norquist are continuously pretending doesn’t exist.
Norquist (whose lobbying firm, Americans for Tax Reform, is financed by billionaires) compared taxing the rich to slavery.
Slavery is when your owner takes 100% of your production.
Democrat congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez wants 70% (according to CNN)
What is the word for 70% expropriation?
— Grover Norquist (@GroverNorquist) January 5, 2019
Conservatives argue that by taxing the rich, Americans would lose all incentive to strive to become the next Michael Bloomberg, or Jeff Bezos, or Bill Gates, which, by the way, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to backup that claim. However there is data that shows slashing taxes for the ultra-wealthy increases income inequality.
So while Republicans continue to obsess over Ocasio-Cortez, whether it be her dance moves or her (arguably reasonable) marginal tax rate proposals, don’t let that distract you from what AOC is working toward.