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This is a chart of the wealth of every single American household.
That includes cars, houses, yachts, jewelry — and 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 see — oh, 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 world — oh 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 hands — like 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 dollars — would be taxed at 2 percent each year.
All the wealth above this line — 1 billion dollars — would 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 free — three 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!
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A better way to tax the rich

2472 Folder Collection
April Lu published on April 21, 2019    April Lu translated    Winnie Liao reviewed
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