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A More Constitutional Way To Tax The Rich?

A More Constitutional Way To Tax The Rich?
Photo Credit: Walton St by HerryLawford is licensed under Flickr CC BY 2.0
A wealth tax is like a property tax, but instead of just taxing buildings and land, it taxes everything someone owns, diamonds, helicopters, paintings, rare pets, you name it.

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have each proposed the federal government, for the 1st time, impose this tax on the ultra-rich.  But there's a sizable group of legal scholars who believe the Supreme Court would likely knock this policy down.

Instead of just straight up taxing people's wealth, Batchelder says, the government could instead be more aggressive in taxing the gains from wealth.  What she proposes is known as an accrual tax.

Proposals for accrual taxes face similar criticisms to the wealth tax.

The policy would require, for instance, significant resources to administer.  It could distort saving and investment decisions and have unintended consequences for the broader economy.

And while proposals on the table include measures to avoid such problems, it's possible the tax could be hard on some taxpayers who look rich on paper but are in fact short on the cash needed to pay the tax.

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