Following a proposal for a 70 percent tax on the rich by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar, a freshman Congresswoman from Minnesota, suggested that wealthy Americans should pay as much as 80 percent in taxes.
Omar suggested the massive tax increase as a way to pay for socialist proposals like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. Ocasio-Cortez and Omar are among a group of far-left Democrats pushing for the two proposals, which, if implemented, would have the government take near-total control of America’s healthcare and energy industries.
“There are a few things that we can do,” Omar said in an interview with activist Zainab Salbi. “One of them is that we can increase the taxes that people are paying who are the extremely wealthy in our communities. So, 70 percent, 80 percent, we’ve had it as high as 90 percent. So, that’s a place we can start.”
“The one percent must pay their fair share,” Omar added.
Omar also said that the military budget can be slimmed to fund the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.
The Green New Deal is backed by America’s largest Marxist organization, the Democratic Socialists of America. The proposal calls for eliminating all carbon emissions in 12 years.
Harris Backs Both Proposals
Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) expressed support for both Medicare for all and the Green New Deal during a CNN town hall on Jan. 28.
An audience member asked: “What is your solution to ensure that people have access to quality health care at an affordable price, and does that solution involve cutting insurance companies as we know them out of the equation?”
“I believe the solution—and I actually feel very strongly about this—is that we need to have Medicare-for-all,” Harris replied. “That’s just the bottom line.”
She said that health care “should be understood to be a right” and that “having a system that makes a difference in terms of who receives what based on your income is unconscionable.”
In contrast to Constitutional rights, which are ensured by putting restraints on the government, quality health care, as it is now, requires a large industry—worth nearly $3.7 trillion in 2018—in which people participate voluntarily and expect compensation.
Medicare for all has been estimated to cost over $32 trillion and would require more than doubling federal income and corporate tax revenues. The Green New Deal, by one estimate, would cost $49 trillion in the first ten years.
Harris’s plan, as she has acknowledged, would eliminate the health insurance industry as we know it.
The Green New Deal proposal acknowledges that the cost of such a program would be astronomical.
“Even if all the billionaires and companies came together, and were willing to pour all the resources at their disposal into this investment, the aggregate value of the investments they could make would not be sufficient,” the proposal states.
The proposal instead calls on the Federal Reserve bank to issue new credit to fund the massive project.
However a government decides to fund such a program, it would ultimately be taxpayers footing the bill, either to repay the credit or to cover the losses if the proposed state-run megaprojects run into trouble, as they historically have (pdf).
The federal government already owes nearly $22 trillion and is projected to be increasingly squeezed by interest payments. In 2018, it paid $325 billion in interest and that number will reach $460 billion in 2020—surpassing Medicaid spending—and $724 billion in 2025—surpassing defense spending—according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.
Ocasio-Cortez proposes taxing income above $10 million at 70 percent, which would theoretically raise $720 billion over 10 years, The Washington Post reported. But people would likely change their behavior accordingly to avoid taxes using a plethora of tricks, such as switching salary for stocks, moving overseas, or finding ways to pass on their income to spouses and children.
For those making over $10 million, wages and salaries already comprise only 15 percent of their income, CNBC reported in 2015.
Eliminating tax shelters, in turn, would crack down on abusers but also penalize those using such measures for legitimate purposes.
Bowen Xiao contributed to this report.