Sanders Calls for ‘National Wealth Registry’ to Enforce New Tax

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during the Democratic presidential debate in Houston, Texas, September 12, 2019. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday rolled out his plan to levy an “extreme wealth tax” on millionaires and billionaires, which he plans to enforce through the creation of a “national wealth registry.”

“Today, the United States has more income and wealth inequality than almost any major country on Earth, and it is worse now than at any time since the 1920s,” Sanders said in his proposal.

Sanders’ annual tax on the top 0.1 percent would apply to Americans with a net worth of over $32 million, or about 180,000 households, and would raise approximately $4.35 trillion over the next decade, the Sanders campaign estimates.

The Vermont senator’s plan seeks to combat capital flight and other forms of tax avoidance through a “national wealth registry” and the addition of “significant additional third party reporting requirements.” The proposal calls for increased funding for the Internal Revenue Service to cover the bureaucratic costs associated with enforcing the wealth tax.

Under the plan, the IRS will be required to audit 30 percent of the top one percent’s wealth tax returns and 100 percent for billionaires.

The tax would start at one percent for a married couple with $32.5 million and would progressively increase one percent for each bracket up to eight percent for those with a net worth of $10 billion. Those rates would be halved for single individuals.

The new tax will partially fund Sanders’ Medicare for All plan as well as his affordable housing and universal childcare plans.

Sanders argues there has been a “massive transfer of wealth from those who have too little to those who have too much” over the last three decades.

“Under this plan, the wealth of billionaires would be cut in half over 15 years which would substantially break up the concentration of wealth and power of this small privileged class,” the progressive candidate said.

Sanders’ plan goes beyond Senator Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax plan, which would impose just a 2 percent tax on families with $50 million and a 3 percent tax on those with $1 billion.

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