Billionaires Hate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 70% Tax. Could It Help the Economy?

February 7, 2019, 5:10 PM UTC

Billionaires aren’t happy about Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s plan to hike taxes for the richest Americans.

The New York congresswoman proposes increasing the marginal tax rate on income above $10 million to 70% to support her Green New Deal. Some conservative politicians, centrist pundits, and wealthy taxpayers oppose the plan.

Elite business leaders who met in Davos last month for the World Economic Forum called Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal “scary.” Some claimed the tax increase would hurt the economy.

An opposing view: a 2011 report from Peter Diamond, a Nobel laureate in economics, and the inequality expert Emmanuel Saez, who argue in favor of a 73% top income tax. The analysis suggests that higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans will keep taxes lower for lower-income earners “who will miss the money more,” as Vox reports.

Data from Business Insider and the Tax Policy Center also point to the period from 1957 through the 1970s, when the tax rate was at 70% or higher, and the economy was stronger than it is today. The data also suggested a correlation between the record-low economic growth of the last decade and the historically low tax rates on the wealthiest Americans.

“I do think a system that allows billionaires to exist when there are parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don’t have access to public health is wrong,” Ocasio-Cortez said at an event honoring Martin Luther King Day in New York.

The proposed tax increase has garnered support from 59% of registered voters, including 71% of Democrats, 60% of independents, and 45% of Republicans, a poll from The Hill and Harris X found.