Dell CEO rejects Ocasio-Cortez's tax plan at Davos

Dell CEO Michael Dell tore into Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators Ocasio-Cortez, Bush criticize lack of diversity among negotiators on latest infrastructure deal Fetterman slams Sinema over infrastructure: 'Democrats need to vote like Democrats' MORE’s (D-N.Y.) proposal to implement a 70 percent marginal tax rate on the nation’s top earners, saying it would not help the U.S. economy grow. 

“My wife and I set up a foundation about 20 years ago and we would have contributed quite a bit more than a 70 percent tax rate on my annual income. And I feel much more comfortable with our ability as a private donation to allocate those funds than I do giving them to the government,” he said Wednesday at the Davos Economic Forum. 

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“So no, I’m not supportive to that and I don’t think it would help the growth of the U.S. economy.”

Ocasio-Cortez sparked widespread debate when she floated the idea earlier this month, with even the most progressive members of Congress avoiding voicing support for the 70 percent rate while agreeing that the top income earner should pay more taxes. 

Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalCongress must lower the Medicare Age to save the lives of older Americans House Democrats grow frustrated as they feel ignored by Senate Schumer feels pressure from all sides on spending strategy MORE (D-Wash.), a co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said she thinks “the fact that people are not paying their fair share is a problem and the millionaires and billionaires are the ones where that has to rest.”

“My view is one that there are better ways of getting to the revenue” than a 70-percent tax on high incomes, Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaOvernight Energy: Democrats request interview with Exxon lobbyist after undercover tapes | Biden EPA to reconsider Trump rollback on power plant pollution in 2022 | How climate change and human beings influence wildfires Democrats request interview with Exxon lobbyist after undercover tapes Progressive fighting turns personal on internal call over antitrust bills MORE (D-Calif.), the vice chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said.

Ocasio-Cortez floated the idea as a way to help pay for a “Green New Deal,” a proposal aimed at combatting climate change. 

A spokeswoman for the New York Democrat told The Hill that the congresswoman’s remarks were “more conceptual” than a specific proposal.

The proposal also sparked debate among economists, with more liberal ones suggesting the plan was not as far-fetched as critics made it seem.

“From about the 1930s through about the 1960s, the tax rate averaged about 70 percent. At times it was up as high as 95 percent, and those were actually pretty good years for growth,” Erik Brynjolfsson, the director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Initiative on the Digital Economy, replied to Dell’s claims. “There’s actually a lot of economics that it’s not necessarily going to hurt growth.”

The top marginal tax rate in the United States was above 90 percent in much of the 1950s and early 1960s, and the rate was 70 percent as recently as 1980. That year, the 70-percent rate applied to income over $215,400 for married couples. It has steadily fallen in the last 25 years, with the top rate hovering in the mid-to-high 30s.