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A 2% Financial Wealth Tax Would Provide a $12,000 Annual Stipend to Every American Household

A 2% Financial Wealth Tax Would Provide a $12,000 Annual Stipend to Every American Household

Paul Buchheit

It's not hard to envision the benefits in work opportunities, stress reduction, child care, entrepreneurial activity, and artistic pursuits for American households with an extra $1,000 per month. It's also very easy to justify a financial wealth tax, given that the dramatic stock market surge in recent years is largely due to an unprecedented degree of technological and financial productivity that derives from the work efforts and taxes of ALL Americans.

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I am against a general wealth tax for a number of reasons, and it is simply the wrong battle to have right now. We have a few types of taxes like this now - property tax and certain other ownership tax (e.g. the portion of your car registration that is tied to the price of your car), but we haven’t gone down the road of telling someone we are going to tax your money just because it is sitting there and you aren’t using it. “But I want to use it later” - too bad, we are going to knock it down 2% every year or in 10 years we’ll take 18% (1-0.98^10).

Everything we need to accomplish from progressive taxation can be accomplished outside a wealth tax. Better tax ideas include: carbon tax, VAT (especially raising tax on items with more environmental impact), steeper progression on income tax, etc.

I hope not too many candidates open their mouths on this one. I can assure them it will be a real loser in California where our costs are high and people save a lot for the possibility of staying here through retirement or letting their kids stay here.

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Of course a carbon tax is highly necessary. As far as income taxes are concerned, only higher incomes should be taxed. For the most part, taxing something good like working is a poor idea. Some type of wealth tax is an excellent idea. Currently billionaires get by with mostly paying some very low capital gains taxes. Entrenched wealth is a danger to democracies.


I am for raising capital gains taxes as long as there is a clear mechanism to average these with losses. I’m also strongly in favor of stock transactions taxing and in general I want a LOT more regulation on Wall Street. I want taxes to be simple for most people to do and I’m willing to pay (a bit) more taxes myself. I will never support a wealth tax though. I am OK with the concept of not allowing wealth to be moved out of the country tax free though to avoid consumption taxes.

I sure wish Paul hadn’t shared his pipe dream. Now I’m thinking of the things I could afford with a doubling of my income. Things like medications, surgeries, fixing my 29 year old car, buying clothes, you know, living. Sure wish he hadn’t done this. Oh well, he did, I forgive him.


Dara - you may be missing the point that the $12,000 stipend proposed here goes to everyone. Thus, anyone with a wealth of under $600,000 would get more from their stipend than they would pay in the tax.

I favor a wealth tax for the same reason I favor an estate tax - but with exemptions appropriate to each.

For example, a wealth tax should also include exemptions for things like a moderate sized home and a reasonable retirement while going hard on things like moving wealth out of the country.


We really need a Financial Transaction Tax on Wall Street Transactions as well.
Simple % point transaction tax for services rendered

All the rest of us in the service sector pay it, so should the Financial Sector


“People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage. Intellectual myopia, often called stupidity, is no doubt a reason.”
John Kenneth Galbraith

An UBI will be needed soon as automation takes over, but whether the oligarchy will accede to it is another matter.

It seems that grassroots direct democracy is the only thing that can wrest power from oligarchy hands.

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In a decentralized online democracy where we could vote securely by blockchain on all laws using our smartphones, my first proposition would be to establish a cap on personal wealth, revised by yearly online referendum. All personal Wealth Cap excesses would be electronically distributed equally among all citizens.

Giving tax revenues to politicians to spend is like giving a crocodile your child to baby sit.

Conservative dogma holds that we should subsidize that of which we approve, and tax that of which we disapprove. So, apparently, we approve of speculation on margin, and disapprove of labor. How bat-guano crazy is that?


Our “progressive” system of taxation has been chipped away for years. There is little difference between tax brackets today. When FDR was president he raised taxes on the wealthy up to 94% over a certain level. That would never, ever happen in this country today under either right, left or in between leadership.

And before anyone cries, but, but the rich pay all the taxes. Duh, that’s were the money is. “… in 1918, only 5% of the population paid federal income taxes (up from 1% in 1913), and yet the income tax funded one-third of the cost of World War I.

A UBI is going to be necessary at some point, and it may be sooner rather than later. The last thing the elite need in this country is a bunch of hungry, homeless, unemployed people on their doorsteps wanting to know why the elite have all the resources (be it housing, food, …) while others have none.


This is a necessity, whose time has come.

If you are too angry or hate filled or self loathing or bitter to not support taking just a tiny amount from the rich and give to the needy. please get some therapy or at least abstain from opposing.

More time to care for children and elders etc., additionally this credit will provide ecological benefits and more food being grown in our communities where possible. The health benefits to society would be amplified thousands of times and be paid back by the trillions in the near term.


They would benefit from the UBI as well, social stability. War is such a seemingly tried and true thing though.


Capital gains used to be taxed at 91% I think. Thanks to St. Ronny , they were taxed at 35%, and now it’s down to somewhere in the twenties. It’s rewarding billionaires for all of their “hard” “work”.

So, why would this not happen today? When did this greed disease get out of control to this extent ( like the Wall Street melt down)? Maybe this preoccupation of individual “rights” has taken us over as well as the fact that eugenics has not really gone away. Plus think about it- our government basically just asks ( well at least for some of the people) for us to pay taxes- no required government service ( separate from military) like other countries have- that is what we really need.

What about property taxes? That is what pays for community services like schools, police, fire and other town and city neccessities.

You’re dreaming- what have you been smoking? Also, I sincerely doubt that those who work would want to pay for others to stay home. We’ve been done this road before- it’s called welfare. Plus, many people today continue to have kids when they can’t even feed them a bowl of cereal, and the schools provide for that.

And- who is inventing automation? We collectively are! As a society people are addicted to technology and conveniences so what do you expect to happen?

Yes, exactly moving wealth out of the country for selfish reasons. Also, remember the 47% who pay no or very little in income taxes? We already have many people who get earned income credit.

Again, I think taking wealth out of the country is a different thing and of course I agree that this can be restricted and a one time tax when moving the money out could reasonably apply.

I’m not 100% against UBI but that is so far from where we are, I don’t see it happening in the US for many years and I’d rather fight for other measures that have a shot in hell of going anywhere that still level the playing field such as Single Payer Health Care (funded by taxes with very little to no co-pay), free college tuition, universal pre-k, etc. I believe we can do all these without considering a wealth tax, though we have to roll back the idiotic changes that have been made recently. And by roll back, I don’t mean bringing up 90% tax brackets - that is a another non-starter and is just going to scare people away from voting for these politicians and my scare people away from getting involved with a movement. A top federal income tax bracket of 50% is more than adequate though we should couple this with pretty deep cuts to the military.

I’m OK letting another country like Switzerland or a Scandinavian country go first with UBI. In the meantime, free health care and tuition is enough of a change to get through.

And on the topic of people having kids who probably shouldn’t (mealsout’s point) - yea, that happens. I’m open for ideas on what to do about it, but one should be careful never to penalize the kids in such arrangements - it isn’t their fault their parents are irresponsible. We could probably accomplish everything we need to do on this front via free and ubiquitous birth control, public service messaging, and the like - no one is talking about going down a coercive path such as China’s (which in my opinion was required for them).