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Cortez’s Green Deal has potential to be great for the country

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Cortez’s Green Deal has potential to be great for the country

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has brought up raising tax rates to pay for government programs. However, opposition has emerged with different proposals.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has brought up raising tax rates to pay for government programs. However, opposition has emerged with different proposals.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has brought up raising tax rates to pay for government programs. However, opposition has emerged with different proposals.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has brought up raising tax rates to pay for government programs. However, opposition has emerged with different proposals.

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It’s getting hard to keep track of everything happening in the world of national politics. With the Mueller investigation, the new Democrat majority in the House of Representatives and the prolonged shutdown, there is a lot going on in Washington. While it has not garnered as much attention as some other events, one proposal, made by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York – D), brought up a familiar issue: raising tax rates on the rich to help pay for government programs. There’s a significant opposition to her suggestion of a 70 percent marginal tax rate on those earning an excess of $10 million. While it’s no end-all and be-all, there is certainly merit to the idea.

As with any bold economic plan, there is plenty of debate taking place over her proposal. Currently under a Democrat-dominated House, juxtaposed with both a Republican Senate and White House, there’s no way for the bill to move forward, as groups on the right are already moving to denounce the plan. the Tax Foundation, a right-leaning think-tank, released estimates countering The Washington Post, which had run an article predicting around $700 billion in revenue over a decade, that came in at only at $291 billion by 2028 if applied to ordinary income. The main point of their argument is that the amount raised is simply not enough to be warranted, given the $3 trillion budget of the federal government.

Another common argument around this issue is that the fear of high tax rates would lead many wealthy individuals to move their income from the United States in order to escape it. Thus, the economy would actually be hurt. Still, others argue that it’s just unfair to take such a large portion of money from individuals who earned it, one way or another.

While some of these points hold merit, others fall apart easily. There’s no way to determine the exact amount such a tax would raise, and if anything, the predictions from the Tax Foundation and the Post represent high and low estimates. Michael Linden, who works at the left-leaning Roosevelt Institute, has argued that there are still incentives, both economic and moral, to implementing the tax. No matter the amount the tax would make, hundreds of billions of dollars is a substantial amount to be added to the government’s revenue, especially when it has been experiencing a  long-running .

The fear of the nation’s wealth slipping away is also pure speculation. It doesn’t make sense for those who have proved successful in this nation to leave the country simply because they are losing a portion of their income they were unlikely to need in the first place. Many of those earning such great amounts have not necessarily done much to deserve their position, as most are CEOs and other billionaires who have managed to organize their assets in a way that garners the most profit.

This tax would not solve all of the nation’s economic problems – after all, capital gains are another way to make sure that the wealthiest are paying a fair share to the nation, and it is perhaps even more efficient than a normal tax. But considered by itself, there are still a multitude of reasons to adopt a tax rate. It is not even as radical as some make it out to be, considering that it is still lower than the rate some European nations levy. Economists Peter Diamond and Emmanuel Saez from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley respectively, wrote a paper in defense of an even higher rate which they named optimal; and even the United States had a rate of this level and scope before the 1980s.

Public support is not a problem either. The Hill-HarrisX survey has found that 59 percent of Americans actually support this tax, which is a significant majority considering how divisively elections have turned out as recently as 2016. A 70 percent tax rate on the wealthiest will not fix all of the nation’s problems, but it is a viable idea that can benefit it greatly.

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Cortez’s Green Deal has potential to be great for the country