Friday, July 17, 2020
Lily L. Batchelder (NYU) & David Kamin (NYU), Policy Options for Taxing the Rich, in Maintaining the Strength of American Capitalism (Melissa Kearney & Amy Ganz eds., The Aspen Institute 2019):
The U.S. economy exhibits high inequality and low economic mobility across generations relative to other high-income countries.
The United States will need to raise more revenues in order to reduce these disparities, finance much-needed new services and investments, and address the nation’s long-term fiscal needs. This paper outlines policy options for raising a large amount of revenues primarily from the most affluent, first discussing potential incremental reforms and then focusing on four main options for more structural reform: dramatically increasing the top tax rates on labor and other ordinary income; effectively taxing the wealthy on accrued gains as they arise and at ordinary rates; a wealth tax on high-net-worth individuals; and a financial transactions tax.
Although we summarize the relative advantages and disadvantages of these approaches, we generally conclude that they all merit serious consideration. Several options are also complementary to one another. In practice, however, the relative strengths of each of these policies will depend to a large extent on how each is designed after it has made its way through the legislative and regulatory process.