Warren, Booker spar over wealth tax

Warren, Booker spar over wealth tax

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report - Protesters' defiance met with calls to listen Biden wins DC primary Warren asks Pentagon IG to probe military role in Trump's protest response MORE (D-Mass.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerCalls for police reform sparks divisions in Congress Schumer calls on McConnell to schedule vote on law enforcement reform bill before July 4 This week: Senate reconvenes as protests roil nation amid pandemic MORE (D-N.J.) sparred early in Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate over Warren’s signature wealth tax proposal.

Warren has proposed a 2 percent tax on net worth above $50 million and a 6 percent tax on net worth above $1 billion.

“Doing a wealth tax is not about punishing anyone,” she said. “It’s about saying, ‘You built something great in this country? Good for you. But you did it using workers all of us helped pay to educate. You did it getting your goods on roads and bridges all of us helped pay for. You did it protected by police and firefighters all of us help pay the salaries for.’”

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Warren said that regardless of party affiliation, people understand that the government is working better for the wealthy and worse for everyone else.

“We come together when we acknowledge that and say we’re going to make real change,” she said.

Booker said he doesn’t agree with the wealth tax Warren put forward but supports other measures to increase taxes on the rich, such as raising the estate tax and taxing capital gains at the same rate as ordinary income — options that he called “real strategies that will increase revenue.”

He also said Democrats shouldn't just talk about how to make the tax system more fair but "have to talk about how to grow wealth as well."

Warren responded by talking about how she’d use the revenue that her wealth tax would raise for universal child care, universal pre-K and other education-related proposals.

“Two cent wealth tax and we can invest in an entire generation,” she said.

Booker said he agrees with the need for the education priorities Warren plans to use her wealth tax to fund. But he also said that a wealth tax is "cumbersome," that "it’s been tried by other nations; it’s hard to evaluate" and that the U.S. can raise the same amount of revenue through other means.

Warren replied by saying that she’s “tired of free-loading billionaires.”