Berkeley tax economists Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez find fresh insights into wealth inequality in America.

Jacob Miramar

2019-06-27 10:39:00 Thu ET

Berkeley tax economists Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez find fresh insights into wealth inequality in America. Their latest estimates show that the top 0.1% of U.S. taxpayers control 20% of American wealth. This result represents the highest share since 1929. The top 1% of U.S. taxpayers control 39% of American wealth, whereas, the bottom 90% of U.S. taxpayers keep only 26% of American wealth. In contrast, the bottom half of Americans collectively have a negative net worth (i.e. total liabilities exceed total assets).

Zucman further finds that multinational corporations move 40% of their $600 billion offshore profits out of high-tax countries into lower-tax jurisdictions. With their main empirical results, Saez and Zucman both champion bold and aggressive tax policy recommendations. For instance, Senator Elizabeth Warren proposes a wealth tax that would rake in $2.8 trillion over the next decade. Warren confers with Saez and Zucman again before she floats a corporate tax on net profits above $100 million. This tax may raise $1 trillion over 10 years.  Further, New York congressional rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposes to hike the top marginal tax rate for Americans who earn annual income above $10 million. The Saez-Zucman empirical results lend credence to these bold tax policy proposals.

 


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