Ocasio-Cortez Has Decided How Much Money an American Can Make Before It's Too Much
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has decided how much money you can make before the government starts taking it from you willy-nilly. It’s about time, I say. One waits with bated breath as the Democrat from the Bronx tells us how it’s going to be, and lo, we’re expected to take it as gospel which will fully happen sometime in the near future.
In this case, the number we should be expected to keep is $10 million. That’s when her high marginal tax rates will kick in — which is nothing new, mind you, but this time she says that’s really all anybody ever needs.
According to the Daily Wire, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez made the remarks on the series premiere of “Desus & Mero,” the popular podcast-turned-late night show that recently moved to Showtime. (Ocasio-Cortez makes her appearance at 17:40 in the clip below.)
One of the hot topics was, of course, the Green New Deal and the high marginal tax rates that Ocasio-Cortez has proposed for individuals who make over $10 million.
“If you make more than $10 million in one year, which is a pretty good year … your ten millionth and one dollar gets taxed at 70 percent, which, by the way, we used to have marginal tax rates under Republican presidents of 90 percent, and it was when we experienced some of the largest rates of economic (growth in the United States),” Ocasio-Cortez said.
But then it came down to an issue of morality for the newly minted socialist. WARNING: The video below contains explicit language.
“It really comes down to the question of, isn’t $10 million enough? Like, when does it stop, right?” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“At what point is it immoral that we’re building Jeff Bezos a helipad when we have the most amount of homeless people in New York City?”
Well, I think that helipad might be off the agenda at this point. And, like so much else in the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez universe, that 90 percent number doesn’t quite tell the whole story.
“Very few taxpayers qualified for those top marginal rates back then,” James Pethokoukis wrote for the American Enterprise Institute back in 2015. “And the effective rates for those who did were considerably lower due to various tax breaks and loopholes. In fact, average tax rates for the richest Americans were not much different in the 1950s than in the 2000s.”
Pethokoukis then quotes a paper by Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez — certainly no free-market conservatives — which showed what these marginal tax rates really meant.
“The average individual income tax rate in 1960 reached an average rate of 31 percent at the very top, only slightly above the 25 percent average rate at the very top in 2004,” they wrote.
“Within the 1960 version of the individual income tax, lower rates on realized capital gains, as well as deductions for interest payments and charitable contributions, reduced dramatically what otherwise looked like an extremely progressive tax schedule, with a top marginal tax rate on individual income of 91 percent.”
“Keep in mind that many on the left would like to combine very high tax rates with an elimination of many tax breaks and loopholes, raising effective tax rates to levels never before seen in the United States or anywhere else. (Not even France.),” Pethokoukis wrote.
This isn’t even getting into the fact that high marginal tax rates combined with a paucity of loopholes on individuals who have the means to make their income and assets mobile means we won’t see profound gains in tax revenue (certainly not enough to pay for the Green New Deal) while we’ll see a serious drop in entrepreneurship.
But again, it’s an issue of morality. Once you’ve reached $10 million, that’s enough.
That’s what this Green New Deal is about. Not saving the world. Not ending poverty. It’s about deciding how much money we’re allowed to have and when the government can start deciding what to do with our productivity.
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