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How Democrats Want to Tax the Rich

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Democrats are leading the 2020 presidential campaign with a slew of tax-the-rich proposals, representing a tone change revealing a party moving to the left.

The plans emerge as a bevy of Democratic contenders are trying to catch fire in a party that is unified in its hopes of defeating Trump next year. They are looking to ride a wave that reclaimed the House of Representatives for the party last November, and swept many unabashed progressives into office.

The ideas—ranging from annual millionaire taxes to levies on Wall Street trades—are the source of much-needed revenue to fund big-picture progressive ideas, including Medicare for all and free college tuition. The candidates’ ideas of who should be taxed and how much they should pay are slated to be a key differentiator as they vie for their party’s nomination.

2020 Presidential Candidates

Tax proposals from the 2020 Democratic hopefuls. Click to scroll to proposal details.👆

Candidate Name
Income Tax
Corporate Tax
Tax on Assets
Financial Trades Tax
Cory Booker
INCOME TAX
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
Pete Buttigieg
INCOME TAX
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
Julian Castro
INCOME TAX
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
John Delaney
INCOME TAX
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
Tulsi Gabbard
INCOME TAX
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
Kirsten Gillibrand
INCOME TAX
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
Levy a 0.5% tax on stock trades and a 0.1% tax on bond trades
Kamala Harris
INCOME TAX
Tax credits paid through rolling back some tax cuts
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
John Hickenlooper
INCOME TAX
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
Jay Inslee
INCOME TAX
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
Amy Klobuchar
INCOME TAX
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
Bernie Sanders
INCOME TAX
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
Tax on estates that have a value above $3.5 million
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
Levy a 0.5% tax on stock trades and a 0.1% tax on bond trades
Elizabeth Warren
INCOME TAX
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
Tax households with a wealth above $50 million
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
Marianne Williamson
INCOME TAX
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
Andrew Yang
INCOME TAX
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX

Other Prominent Democrats

They are not running in the 2020 election, but their recommendations might influence the candidates. Click to scroll to proposal details.👆

Candidate Name
Income Tax
Corporate Tax
Tax on Assets
Financial Trades Tax
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
INCOME TAX
Tax at 70% on income over $10 million
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
Ilhan Omar
INCOME TAX
Make maximum marginal tax rate 90%
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
Brian Schatz
INCOME TAX
CORPORATE TAX
TAX ON ASSETS
FINANCIAL TRADE TAX
Levy a 0.1% tax on financial trades

Kirsten Gillibrand

Democratic Senator from New York

PROPOSAL
Levy a 0.5 percent tax on stock trades, and a 0.1 percent tax on bond trades.

WHAT'S IN PLACE NOW
Nothing comparable.

ANALYSIS
Gillibrand has signed on as a co-sponsor of Bernie Sanders’s bill, which proposes to tax stock trades at 0.5 percent, and bond trades at 0.1 percent.

SUPPORT
Among likely voters, 42 percent would support a financial transaction tax, according to a survey conducted between April and May 2018.
  • Disapprove
  • Don't know
  • Approve

36%

22%

42%

Source: Lake Research Partner

Kamala Harris

Democratic Senator from California

PROPOSAL
Provide tax credits and direct payments to middle-income and low-income families by rolling back tax breaks for those making more than $100,000. Tax banks with more than $50 million in assets.

WHAT'S IN PLACE NOW
Low-income workers can claim the earned-income tax credit. The amount of the credit depends on how much one earns and how many children they have. The maximum income level to be eligible for the credit is about $55,000 for those who are married with three or more children.

ANALYSIS
The plan would cut taxes for middle earners, something Democrats have said Republicans didn’t do enough of in their 2017 overhaul. However, Harris’s plan is likely to cost more than $2.5 trillion, meaning she would need additional revenue raisers to fully pay for it.

Bernie Sanders

Independent Senator from Vermont

PROPOSAL
Set a 45 percent tax on the value of estates between $3.5 million and $10 million, increasing gradually to 77 percent for amounts more than $1 billion. Levy a 0.5 percent tax on stock trades, and a 0.1 percent tax on bond trades.

WHAT'S IN PLACE NOW
Current estate tax kicks in when an estate is worth about $11 million.

ANALYSIS
Sanders’s expanded estate tax would tax more of an estate as it is handed down to the next generation. It has been successfully branded as the “death tax” by its opponents. The tax on financial products he has proposed would increase the cost of trades, and would likely curb high-frequency trading which critics say has contributed to market volatility.

SUPPORT
Half the country supports the estate tax proposal, according to a poll conducted in February 2019.
  • Disapprove
  • Don't know
  • Approve

29%

21%

50%

Source: Morning Consult/Politico
REVENUE
$2.2 trillion
over the next decade

Elizabeth Warren

Democratic Senator from Massachusetts

PROPOSAL
Levy a 2 percent tax on households with wealth above $50 million, and a 3 percent tax for those with wealth above $1 billion.

WHAT'S IN PLACE NOW
Nothing comparable.

ANALYSIS
Supporters say the tax would curb inequality. Critics say valuing private assets would create an administrative nightmare for the IRS.

SUPPORT
More than 60 percent of Americans would favor a wealth tax, according to a survey conducted in February 2019.
  • Disapprove
  • Don't know
  • Approve

20%

19%

61%

Source: Morning Consult/Politico
REVENUE
$2.75 trillion
over the next decade

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Democratic Representative for New York 14th District

PROPOSAL
Income over $10 million would be taxed at 70 percent.

WHAT'S IN PLACE NOW
The current top rate is 37 percent on income above $500,000.

ANALYSIS
The tax would increase the top tax brackets to a level not seen since the 1970s. It would do less to slow income inequality, as most top-earners get their income in the form of lower-taxed capital gains rather than wages.

SUPPORT
Forty-five percent of Americans would support such a measure, according to a survey conducted in February 2019.
  • Disapprove
  • Don't know
  • Approve

32%

23%

45%

Source: Morning Consult/Politico
REVENUE
$353 billion
over the next decade

Ilhan Omar

Democratic Representative for Minnesota 5th District

PROPOSAL
The maximum marginal tax rate would be set at 90 percent.

WHAT'S IN PLACE NOW
The current rate is 37 percent on income above $500,000.

ANALYSIS
The tax would go beyond many other proposals to increase levies on top earners. Opponents say taxes that approach 100 percent discourage people from expanding their businesses or innovating beyond a certain point. There are currently no estimates of how much money this tax would raise.

Brian Schatz

Democratic Senator from Hawaii

PROPOSAL
The financial trading tax would levy a 0.1 percent tax on trades of stocks, bonds and derivatives.

WHAT'S IN PLACE NOW
Nothing comparable.

ANALYSIS
The tax would limit the amount of high-frequency trading, but critics say it could decrease liquidity in financial markets.

SUPPORT
Among likely voters, 42 percent would support a financial transaction tax, according to a survey conducted between April and May 2018.
  • Disapprove
  • Don't know
  • Approve

36%

22%

42%

Source: Lake Research Partner
REVENUE
$777 billion
over the next decade

What Americans think of taxes

Since 2016, Americans' views on taxes have evolved. Where 16 percent of them used to think that corporate taxes were fair, 24 percent now think so.

In addition, Americans' perception of their own income tax has changed over the last two years: 45 percent now think they are paying too much in taxes, against 57 percent in 2016.

Americans' Views on Taxes

  • Too much
  • Fair
  • Not enough
Source: Gallup polls