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Spiegel reports German Upper House set to introduce wealth tax, shouldn't the US do the same?

by Democrats Ramshield
Mon Aug 13th, 2012 at 01:03:05 PM EST

(This economics diary was written by an American expat who holds an MBA degree and lives in the European Union).

WHY DOESN'T THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA HAVE A PROGRESSIVE WEALTH TAX FOR MILLIONAIRES?

Why in America are millions of millionaires allowed to hold an estimated $11.6 trillion dollars in assets without an introduction of a wealth tax? At a time when America is broke, when 59 million Americans have no medical insurance; over 44 million live below the poverty line and subsist on food stamps, and childhood poverty has hit record levels, wherein a third of American homeowners are in underwater mortgages. Isn't it time for America to join other highly industrialized countries in calling for a wealth tax on the millions of Americans who are millionaires?  




The wealth held by these millionaires also hit a record.  North American millionaires had a combined wealth of $11.6 trillion, up from $10.7 trillion in 2009.
http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2011/06/22/u-s-has-record-number-of-millionaires/

The mainstream German magazine the Spiegel reports that the German Upper House in Parliament, which has a progressive majority is expected to introduce a wealth tax. France as we know has done the same thing. Isn't it time that we in America follow suit, at least with the 1% progressive wealth tax, which over the life of the tax is certain to raise trillions in federal revenues, rather than trying to balance the budget via austerity measures on the backs of the great American working class families. American families are suffering in a neo-feudalist state under regressive tax laws passed by a Congress, wherein the majority of its members are millionaires, and as such are wholly out of touch with American working class values. This inequity is enabled by a corrupt system wherein American law makers are elected in depoliticized elections, that are bought by private capital, primarily financial capital in a posture where the American public are atomized, and demoralized. Millions in anger and confusion no longer know the way out.  

Spiegel quote: In Germany, the opposition center-left Social Democrats and environmentalist Greens want to copy France and apply new taxes to the wealthy to help reduce the national deficit........... proponents say it could bring an additional 11.5 billion euros into the public coffers each year.

This diary invites you to click on the link below on the US debt clock before reading on. As the debt clock ineffably captures the complete insanity of debt slavery that the top 1% of income earners have exposed the 99% to. This neo-feudalist tax slavery can best be summed up in the words legalized theft.  
http://www.usdebtclock.org/


Tax Cuts For Wealthy Americans Cost Treasury $11.6 Million Every Hour: Report
Tax cuts for the wealthiest five percent of Americans cost the U.S. Treasury $11.6 million every hour, according to the National Priorities Project. America's top earners will get an average tax cut of $66,384 in 2011, while the bottom 20 percent will get an average cut of $107.

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/14/tax-cuts-for-wealthy-americans_n_1011601.html

Let's take France as an example, which like every country in the European Union has no medically uninsured population, who do not have access to a healthcare plan. Whereas in the United States that number is right around 59 million medically uninsured Americans. Despite the fact France doesn't suffer this type of economic inequity,  France still pushed for a wealth tax. Now Germany is doing the same thing, and Germany also has a medically uninsured population of zero. As things are far more inequitable in the United States, shouldn't we in an election year be calling for a wealth tax as well? Yet this issue is not even on the agenda of any political party. Why is that? Moreover why are you allowing that?

Spiegel quote:In France, it featured as one of the biggest political platforms in François Hollande's campaign to become president. Now, calls are growing in Germany to introduce a wealth tax in order to combat a national budget deficit............

Under the old adage figures lie and liars figure, one thing is clear while we can argue about how many hundreds of thousands of millionaires that exist in Germany, it is clear that in America estimates range up to 8.6 million millionaires. To which the question must be asked, according to its estimates if Germany would raise an average of 11.5 billion Euros annually, how many billions do we think a wealth tax would raise from the millions of Americans who are millionaires? Certainly this provides one with pause to think. Yet in the 2012 election cycle, which is said to cost in excess of $2 billion dollars, there is no serious discussion of that issue. Why is that? It is certainly because American elections have been depoliticized as they are bought by private capital. To reiterate primarily financial capital, in the face of a very atomized American public, who are angry and in a state of confusion no longer knows the way out of this corrupt system of debt and wage slavery! This comprises a system of legalized theft, wherein the rich hold sway and the word referendum is never uttered.

By contrast even Angela Merkel's Conservative government has called for referendum on some issues, such as the creation of a new European superstate. Whether we agree with that concept or not, in America that would be unthinkable, as private capital could not buy a referendum in the same way that it can buy elections. If you don't believe that ask yourself when is the last time a sitting American President has called for a national referendum turning power back to the people!  

Obviously in a Congress where half the members are millionaires, a progressive wealth tax on millionaires in a system where elections are bought by private capital, primarily financial capital is unthinkable. Be that as it may opponents of a progressive wealth tax in America routinely employ straw man arguments, where they suggest a wealth tax in advance of such a tax ever being passed, much less challenged in court, would by a court be found to be unconstitutional. When in fact as such legislation is unlikely to ever be introduced in our lifetimes, it becomes clear that no such court case can ever be brought. Where axiomatically it becomes apparent that this fallacious line of reasoning is being raised to even curtail any serious discussion of an egalitarian wealth tax on the millions of Americans who are millionaires, who hold trillions of dollars in untaxed assets as it relates to a wealth tax.

To read the full Spiegel article in English click here:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-opposition-calls-for-wealth-tax-a-849131.html

Spiegel quote:The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) think tank estimates that a wealth tax would provide an additional €11.5 billion annually for the federal budget. North Rhine-Westphalian Finance Minister Walter-Borjans says that estimate also takes into account the possible emigration of wealthy Germans to other countries. For his state alone, which is Germany's most populous with nearly 18 million of the country's entire population of almost 82 million, the tax could raise an addition €3.5 billion a year.

"Private monetary assets in Germany have grown to an extreme degree -- from €3.6 trillion to €4.7 trillion between 2001 and 2011," Walter-Borjans said. If you include tangible assets, then that figure is closer to €10 trillion.

More food for thought about 11.6 trillion in taxable assets in the U.S. under a wealth tax!

North American millionaires had a combined wealth of $11.6 trillion, up from $10.7 trillion in 2009.
http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2011/06/22/u-s-has-record-number-of-millionaires/

Please note in 2012 most American households have a net worth of zero!

(This diary was cross posted by the author from the Daily Kos (Street Prophets). Thank you. )

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You know.....

there's this thing called constitution. Well, at least in Germany.

Basically, the constitutional court threw out the old "wealth tax" a few years ago because it taxed wealth instead of income. It argued that the constitution guarantees the right to private property, and thus taxes that are destined to confiscate property are unconstitutional. (It also argued that the - back then current - form of wealth tax was unjust since it unduly privileged real estate).

Getting back to the US situation, I venture to guess that much of your problems would be solved if you at least taxed capital gains as high or higher than salaries (e.g as high as we do in Germany :-).

No need to enter the confiscation business...

by cris0 on Sat Aug 18th, 2012 at 04:23:11 PM EST
The American system of taxation is broken. Hopelessly broken.

sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]
by Democrats Ramshield on Sat Aug 18th, 2012 at 04:40:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US taxation falls on those least able to squirrel out of it by buying Congresspeople pay and those most able to pay squirrel out of it by buying Congresspeople don't.
by ATinNM on Sat Aug 18th, 2012 at 05:17:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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