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  • This is a chart of the wealth of every single American household.

  • That includes cars, houses, yachts, jewelryand even cold, hard cash.

  • It also includes things we owe other people, like student loans.

  • So let's take a quick tour of American household wealth.

  • We can start over here, where we see people who owe way more than they have.

  • As we move further right, we can seeoh, that's me.

  • And there's my doctor, who owns an expensive home.

  • And there's former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson!

  • But when we get to the very richest people in the worldoh hey, it's Beyoncé — we can zoom out so far that this chart looks like a stick and we still can't see the top of their wealth.

  • Because these people are so much wealthier than the rest of us.

  • In other words, this chart doesn't just show wealth.

  • It shows the staggering wealth inequality we have in America.

  • But recently, politicians have been talking about an idea that's never been done before in America.

  • To even out wealth, we should tax it.

  • In January, Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed something called a "wealth tax."

  • This was a big deal.

  • Because this doesn't typically get taxed.

  • Most of the taxes we pay only happen when money changes handslike when we earn money or spend money.

  • But according to Warren, here's the problem with that.

  • This bar represents my wealth.

  • And this is my friend's wealth.

  • I think he owns a yacht.

  • But because both of us have the same job and earn the same amount of money, our income gets taxed about the same.

  • "Two people who may have the same income, but are in wildly different economic circumstances."

  • So to fix it, Warren wants to tax the actual wealth people have, but only for the very, very rich.

  • Here's her proposal: All the wealth above this line — 50 million dollarswould be taxed at 2 percent each year.

  • All the wealth above this line — 1 billion dollarswould be taxed at 3 percent.

  • So if you have 40 million dollars, you'd pay nothing.

  • If you have 60 million dollars, you'd pay nothing on your first 50 million, but 2% on the 10 million after that, or $200 thousand.

  • And if you have 2 billion dollars, you'd pay about $49 million.

  • So what would happen if we imposed Senator Warren's tax?

  • Only the richest 0.05 percent of Americans would pay this tax.

  • But in 2016, the government could have raised about 200 billion dollars from it.

  • That could pay for a plan that makes public college tuition freethree times over.

  • It could pay for all federal food assistance programs, like food stamps, two times over.

  • It could get close to cutting child poverty by 60 percent.

  • These are massive programs that would help millions of people.

  • And what makes that possible is the huge amount of wealth stuck here, at the very, very top with the ultra-rich.

  • A wealth tax hones in on that.

  • We've started this paid membership program called Vox Video Lab.

  • When you sign up, you support our journalism but you also get access to some really cool exclusive content.

  • So you can join at vox.com/join. And thank you!

This is a chart of the wealth of every single American household.

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A better way to tax the rich

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    April Lu posted on 2019/04/20
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