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A key ingredient in solutions from Congress is new taxes. Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, has laid out plans to tax the richest Americans.

This is not an editorial urging sympathy for billionaires. They can pay people to cry for them. But we do have some questions about the ideas behind the new tax proposal.

This tax likely won’t apply to you. There may be only some 700 people in the country who might have to pay. (If it does apply to you, ever thought about investing in a local newspaper?)

“Wyden’s draft legislation would apply a new tax, beginning in 2022, for individuals with at least $1 billion in assets or $100 million annual income in three straight taxable years,” RollCall says. “It would apply to about 700 people, according to Wyden’s office.”

In some cases, people build fortunes when good ideas take off. They can get wealthy by owning company stock that grows in value. That seems fair. But they can escape paying yearly taxes if they avoid selling shares. They can also borrow against those stock holdings and invest the money.

Is that unfair? Does it become unfair after a certain amount of money? Is it constitutional? The Constitution grants Congress the power to levy income taxes. Would this kind of taxation pass a legal test?

You can let Wyden know what you think here: wyden.senate.gov/contact

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(3) comments

Transitory Inflation

The board asking the questions on national tax policy? I'll take it!

The fix is simple and therefore impossible: End step-up in basis at death and/or contribution to charity.

BuckeyeDuck

Interesting solution. I had to look up the definition of "step up..".

Historically, we had a high tax rate which started early 1900s and all was pretty darn good. Heck, we even paid for our infrastructure and yet the rich stayed rich.

The GOP did a great job of making it such that Joe Blow on the street thinks it's horrible to tax folks that have so much money they'll never be able to spend it in 1000 lifetimes.

Transitory Inflation

yeah, kind of cryptic the way I wrote it.

I just happened to come back to this page to check my memory of what the board write and I found your comment. Is there a way to turn on notifications for this 20th century comment system?

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