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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s tax hike idea is not about soaking the rich

Gabriel Zucman, Assistant professor of economics | January 22, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has kick-started a much-needed debate about taxes. But the debate, so far, has been misplaced. It’s obvious that the affluent — who’ve seen their earnings boom since 1980 while their taxes fell — can contribute more to the public coffers. And given the revenue needs of the country, it is necessary.

But that’s not the fundamental reason higher top marginal income tax rates are desirable. Their root justification is not about collecting revenue. It is about regulating inequality and the market economy. It is also about safeguarding democracy against oligarchy.

Wealthy investors to win bigly with Republicans’ proposed tax plan

Gabriel Zucman, Assistant professor of economics | November 9, 2017

By Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez This blog is cross-posted from the Berkeley Opportunity Lab and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. The tax plan released by Republicans in Congress and praised by President Trump is a remarkable document in many ways, but most notably in that it achieves just the opposite of its stated goal. Presented … Continue reading »

In Honor of Tax Day, Celebrate the Internet

Camille Crittenden, Executive Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute | April 14, 2015

Benjamin Franklin famously quipped about the only two certainties in life: death and taxes. Tax policy, a reflection of social values and priorities, is inherently contentious in a state as large and diverse as California, much less the United States overall. Although most taxpayers agree on the necessity of collective contributions to services like schools, roads, … Continue reading »

The conundrum of corporation and nation

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | March 10, 2015

The U.S. economy is picking up steam but most Americans aren’t feeling it. By contrast, most European economies are still in bad shape, but most Europeans are doing relatively well. What’s behind this? Two big facts. First, American corporations exert far more political influence in the United States than their counterparts exert in their own … Continue reading »

The Supreme Court’s health care decision and the problem with relying on the taxing power

David Gamage, assistant professor, Berkeley Law | June 29, 2012

Yesterday (June 28th), the Supreme Court finally revealed its decision in the health care cases.  A majority of the Justices voted to uphold the constitutionality of most of the Affordable Care Act (aka, “Obamacare”). There are many summaries and analyses of the decision available online.  I won’t attempt anything approaching a summary here. Instead, I’ll … Continue reading »

Thoughts on Tax Day 2012

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | April 17, 2012

As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., wrote in 1904, “taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.” But the wealthiest Americans, who haven’t raked in as much of America’s income and wealth since the 1920s, are today paying a lower tax rate than they have in over thirty years. Even though America faces … Continue reading »

Words that don’t work

George Lakoff, professor emeritus of linguistics | December 12, 2011

Progressives had some fun recently with Frank Luntz, who told the Republican Governors’ Association that he was scared to death of the Occupy movement and recommended language to combat what the movement had achieved. But the progressive critics mostly just laughed, said his language wouldn’t work, and assumed that if Luntz was scared, everything was … Continue reading »

A good fight to have

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | September 20, 2011

So the really big fight — perhaps the defining battle of 2012 — won’t be over Medicare. It won’t even be over Obama’s jobs program. It will be over whether the rich should pay more taxes. The President has vowed to veto any plan to tame the debt that doesn’t increase taxes on the rich. … Continue reading »

Taxing the rich, the Obama way

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | September 19, 2011

Warren Buffett is a tough negotiator, which is one reason why he’s the second-wealthiest person in America. So when the President refers to his new initiative to raise taxes on millionaires as the “Buffett rule” we might expect he’d start the bargaining from a tough position. But this is Barack Obama, whose idea of negotiating is … Continue reading »

Reality resurfacing in California

Michael O'Hare, professor of public policy | January 18, 2011

Jerry Brown has issued a budget that engages a $25b deficit.  Note the word engages; not “papers over” or “hides with wishful thinking” or “lies about”; engages. There’s plenty of work not done yet, but this is huge: for the first time in recent memory, our elected chief executive is telling us the truth. Not … Continue reading »