CNBC host Joe Kernan clashed with Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday over her proposed “Ultra-Millionaire Tax.”
Kernan began by verifying that Warren didn’t think the rich people she wants to tax had “broken any laws to accrue all this wealth” and that the tax proposal wasn’t “punitive.”
He then asked why the tax rates weren’t more “progressive” and set at higher rates if it was decided that those subject to the tax had already “crossed the rubicon” into having “more money than you can ever spend.”
“Why not make it truly progressive and do 10% at a billion? Do 20% at a billion. Why not do it that way? … What would be the problem?” he asked.
Warren responded by saying that she’s “just a girl from Oklahoma” and that “$3 trillion actually sounds like a lot of money,” referring to the amount she says the tax would raise. She then said that the 2% and 3% weren’t “punitive” and those people paying the tax can still “grow their fortunes.” (RELATED: ‘Grow A Backbone’: Elizabeth Warren Ramps Up Pressure On SEC To Regulate Stock Market)
“It’s enough for universal child care. It’s enough for universal pre-k. It’s enough to make sure that every baby in this country has good care and raise the wages of every child care worker and pre-school teacher in America,” she added.
“You didn’t answer me!” Kernan interrupted. “Make it 10 times as good!”
He went on to say that it looked like she was trying to change “the rules of the game” on people who have paid their taxes while accruing their wealth, and that people “would rather do really good things with the money” than give it to the government.
He reiterated his original question, asking, “Why not make it 5% or 10% on people that are really loaded?”
“I’m loving this morning. I cannot believe that I’ve gotten you to say that we should tax the rich more, Joe,” Warren responded jokingly.
“This is just like we do on real estate taxes. We say every year, not as a punishment, you pay real estate taxes. And we want to make sure that those who have, pay a percentage. Now I hear you about the percentages … The point I’m trying to make is we can make a modest, just a modest change and those at the top would still not be paying as much of their wealth in taxes as the 99%, and it would be transformative … I think it’s a great place to start,” she concluded.
Warren introduced the proposal Monday, along with two House co-sponsors. Tax revenue generated from the bill would go to education and infrastructure, according to a statement released by Warren. Multiple analyses on the proposal found that it could bring in trillions of dollars in revenue and potentially lower GDP.