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Wealth Concentration

How to Peacefully Redistribute Wealth

Research & Commentary
April 29, 2016

by Josh Hoxie

We can’t just tax billionaires’ paychecks. We should tax the wealth they’ve already amassed.

This is an excerpt from the full piece published by The American Prospect

Short of an all-out, torches-and-pitchforks revolt, reducing structural inequality means going through the legislative process—most particularly, reforming the tax code. But with an intransigent Republican Congress, a campaign-finance system dominated by wealthy donors, and a dispirited and deeply divided public, it’s clear that legislative change isn’t going to come soon.

Photo: The American Prospect

That places us in what Alperovitz calls “pre-history.” We have to lay the foundation for change without knowing when it will come.

His heroes, Alperovitz says, are the civil rights workers of the 1930s and ‘40s. They took on insurmountable odds—as well as serious personal risk—to lay the groundwork for what would become the very successful civil rights movement of the 1960s. They knew they might never see the fruits of their labor—Jim Crow and its supporters in Washington seemed impossibly entrenched—but their efforts made it possible for success in the unknowable future.

With the benefit of this long view, we can look past election cycles to see what solutions would actually solve our serious problems. On wealth inequality, that means a direct tax on concentrated wealth.

We shouldn’t just tax billionaires’ paychecks, in other words. We need to tax the wealth they’ve already amassed. That idea isn’t going to clear Congress anytime soon. But it’s just as serious, reasonable, and likely to become law as any other genuine solution.

Read the full piece at The American Prospect.

Josh Hoxie directs the Project on Opportunity and Tax at the Institute for Policy Studies. He recently co-authored the report “Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us.

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