The billionaires’ tax matters to everyone
It’s not popular to be against a tax that would affect only the very richest people. And while the wealth tax for billionaires the Democrats floated few days ago appears mostly dead, it’s not entirely gone.
As the Wall Street Journal’s Laura Sanders writes, we’d best hope it stays mostly dead:
The [Oregon Sen. Ron] Wyden proposal would have taxed holdings for a small group of investors, mostly billionaires, based on paper gains in publicly traded companies. In other words, they would have owed tax annually if their shares in a company rose even if they didn’t sell them. Losses would have offset gains, and large losses could have been carried forward or back to other years.
This so-called mark-to-market approach is used by companies, especially financial firms, in reports to investors. But under current tax law, individuals rarely mark investments to the market price annually.
The proposal raised fears among opponents that the tax could be broadened to apply to the assets of less wealthy taxpayers, and that it could create new tax-code complexities requiring further tax changes.
And it could easily spread from the highest earners and their assets to everyone with a nest egg built on hard work and saving.
But that’s not much a consideration for some, who view any source of wealth in virtually any hands as something to be expropriated. The Wyden proposal may be gone for now. But it’s still on the shelf…waiting for the right time to make another appearance.