Why the government needs to raise taxes on the rich
The US government should introduce a tax on the wealthy, and the idea is gaining traction among economists and policymakers.
The Tax Foundation, a think tank, has a number of proposals, including levying a 25 per cent surcharge on all net worth, which would be passed on to the top 1 per cent of earners.
But one of its main proposals is for a tax that would raise money for universal health care.
Tax cuts should be used to fund the US health system, which has long been one of the world’s most expensive, but it’s now under pressure.
Its already at $7.5 trillion, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
In a report, the think tank found that a $100,000 tax on a net worth of $1m would raise $10 billion, or roughly 4 per cent.
It would also cut federal spending by $5.9 billion, and bring the total deficit to $11.3 trillion.
“This is a big tax cut that could help to balance the budget for the long term,” said Daniel Grossman, chief economist at the Tax Foundation.
Mr Grossman said it would be a “pretty big deal” to raise the money for a universal health system that would save the US billions of dollars a year, but there are no estimates on how much the money would raise.
And the Tax Policy Center estimates that a 25-per-cent tax on top 1 percent earners would raise more than $10 trillion, or about 3 per cent a year.
There are a number tax proposals in Congress, but one that has attracted attention is the Buffett rule, which is designed to force millionaires to pay their fair share of taxes.
For the past decade, the wealthy have taken out tax breaks, including a tax break of $11,000 for married couples and $1 million for married individuals.
So what is the Tax Reform Act?
It would increase taxes on people with assets worth $1 billion or more, as well as individuals and corporations with assets of more than that amount.
Under current law, the top tax rate on individuals is 35 per cent, while corporations are taxed at 39 per cent – the lowest rate on the planet.
A top individual tax rate is currently 39.6 per cent under the Buffett Rule, which applies to anyone earning over $1.2 million.
Lower rates on corporations are a proposal in the Tax reform Act that would apply to the first $50 million of taxable income.
This would include the first few million of investments made by companies.
Those investments would also be subject to a 20 per cent corporate income tax, which can be used for tax purposes, such as research and development.
Other proposals in the bill include a $200,000 credit for taxpayers earning over a million dollars a years, and a $50,000 deduction for individuals.
Under the Buffett tax, it would also allow the first million of any income earned to be taxed at the same rate as the $1million or $1,000,000 threshold.
These deductions are meant to allow people to save more of their income.
It’s hoped that the tax breaks could help the US lower its debt.
One big proposal in a bill would be to make the estate tax more expensive for estates worth more than half a million.
The tax would apply only to the value of the property.
If the property is worth $5 million, for example, the estate would be taxed $1 for every $1 of taxable value.
Under current rules, estates of less than $1 and worth less than that are taxed the same as individuals, but estates worth over $50m are taxed a higher rate than estates worth less.
According to the Tax Law Institute, a tax increase would be necessary to make up for the increased costs of estate taxation, as the estate is taxed at a lower rate than other assets.
The Tax Policy Centre estimated that the estate rate would increase from 4.6 to 6.5 per cent over the next 10 years.
However, that could be offset by the lower income tax rate of 39.7 per cent for individuals and 39.9 per cent on estates worth $50million and more.
If the bill passed, the Taxpayer Advocate General’s office estimates that the changes would result in an increase of $2.4 trillion in revenue over 10 years and $5 trillion over 30 years.
The legislation is set to be discussed by the House Ways and Means Committee next week.