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Old 09-03-2019, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Wrenching Spanners View Post
Bezos isn't singled out for Amazon's low taxes in either of your cites. But since you'd like to throw that into the conversation here's a Forbes take on Amazon's federal income tax breaks:

So a rich guy directs his company to invest heavily and provide employees with stock incentives which they benefit from when the stock price increases, and the company becomes more valuable as a result. This is a good thing. It's how capitalism is supposed to work.
And... that is not a problem, otherwise no tax base would be available, so not what I was talking about; and my cat's breath smells like cat food...

Originally Posted by Wrenching Spanners View Post
As to my silly little point, what is the liberal position on taxing unrealised wealth? Are you in favour of it, or against it?
Well, as an economist at Bloomberg reports it, you are too late:
The U.S. already has various wealth taxes that go by other names, but they work badly. Federal taxes on income from capital — in the form of profits, dividends and capital gains — and taxes on inheritance are varieties of wealth tax. Many state and local governments tax houses and other property as well.

The federal taxes are poorly designed and riddled with loopholes. One big channel of avoidance is the so-called step-up basis for capital gains at death. This lets assets pass to heirs at current market values, with any previous unrealized gains simply erased for tax purposes. That means huge accumulations of unrealized capital income escape capital-gains tax altogether. Combine this with a leaky inheritance tax, and wealth can be passed from generation to generation with little or no tax owed.

A theoretical case, based on restrictive assumptions, can be made for not taxing capital at all — but as a practical matter, on grounds of fairness and efficiency, it’s hard to deny that wealth and the income it generates are under taxed in the U.S. relative to income from labor. The question is whether a wealth tax like the one Warren is suggesting is a better remedy for these defects than fixing the taxes the U.S. already has — say, by taxing capital income at the same rate as labor income, taxing unrealized capital gains at death, and/or making the inheritance tax harder to avoid.
Mind you, the economist there points out that the Warren idea has issues and there are other ways to do what amounts to a wealth tax that I'm in favor of, loopholes for the extra wealth and other items need to be taken care of while a more targeted wealth tax is implemented. In any case, the point that inequality is growing and something needs to be done to make the whole thing more sustainable in the long run remains.