Which Wealth Tax?
— October 28, 2019
By A. Michael Spence
Fortunately, there is a growing body of first-rate research on the magnitude, dimensions, history, and trajectories of income and wealth inequality. If there is growing demand for some type of tax-policy response to the problem, we have ways to determine which measures would be most effective, depending on the specific objective.
Listening to the contenders for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, it would seem that different wealth-tax proponents have quite different objectives indeed. Bernie Sanders, who has said, “Billionaires should not exist,” seems to regard extreme inequality as offensive in and of itself. But others focus more on what inequality means for those in the bottom half or two-thirds of the income and wealth distribution. Elizabeth Warren, for example, wants to tax wealth to pay for an ambitious expansion of social security and other services.
Read the full Project Syndicate article.
A. Michael Spence is a William R. Berkley Professor in Economics & Business.