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‘#TaxTheRich’ Trends on Twitter As Democrats Debate ‘Billionaire Tax’

‘#TaxTheRich’ Trends on Twitter As Democrats Debate ‘Billionaire Tax’

Senate Democrats have unveiled a plan to tax billionaires’ assets to help pay for President Joe Biden’s social and climate-change agenda, but it was unclear whether it had enough support to become law.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chairman of the powerful Finance Committee and the top Democratic tax writer in the U.S. Senate, wrote the tax plan that has become just one of several that Democrats are considering in order to pay for a pair of bills that together are worth about $3 trillion to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, boost social spending, and fight climate change.

UNITED STATES – MARCH 13: Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, at a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Hearing on a bill to Establish Age Limitations for Airmen. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)

The White House said it was still “realistic” that the spending plan could get Congressional support by the time President Biden departs on Thursday for his scheduled trip to the COP26 summit in Europe, but that optimism was overshadowed by the lack of a concrete plan to present to the President. Aides in Congress said the billionaire’s tax, affecting roughly 700 taxpayers with over $1 billion in assets or $100 million in annual income for three consecutive years, would impose a 23.8% tax rate for long-term capital gains on tradable assets, whether or not they have been sold. It would also allow taxpayers to take deductions for losses on assets.

Progressive Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said the so-called “billionaire’s tax” was a “step in the right direction” but not nearly enough. “Every sensible revenue option seems to be destroyed,” he told reporters.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a centrist who has forced President Biden to scale back the spending package, reacted with skepticism to the billionaire’s tax proposal. “I don’t like the connotation that we are targeting different people,” he told reporters. Manchin said he would support a minimum 15% tax on wealthy individuals, similar to the 15% corporate minimum tax that Democrats have proposed. Manchin and Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, another centrist who has opposed various Democratic proposals, met behind closed doors with President Biden and White House staffers for roughly two hours on Wednesday.

“The President supports the billionaire tax,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “He looks forward to working with Congress and Chairman Wyden to make sure the highest-income Americans pay their fair share.”

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