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

Dell CEO Michael Dell tore into Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezPoll: Biden and Sanders tied nationally, followed by Warren More than 100 Democrats sign letter calling for Stephen Miller to resign Steyer, Biden clash over climate credentials 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 JayapalBicameral group of Democrats introduces bill to protect immigrant laborers Hillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Dozens of lawmakers call for government surveillance reforms 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) KhannaSanders doubles down on Bolivia 'coup,' few follow suit Democratic lawmaker: It 'defies logic' for Trump to push Ukraine to investigate Biden Overnight Health Care: CDC links vitamin E oil to vaping illnesses | White House calls Pelosi drug price plan 'unworkable' | Dem offers bill for state-based 'Medicare for All' 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.