October 20, 2015
By Jason Riley
Bernie Sanders has been asserting more forthrightly than any of his Democratic rivals that pretty much every domestic problem—from aging infrastructure to student debt to teenage acne—could be solved by raising taxes high enough on the super rich. Rarely do interviewers perform the public service of challenging his math, which is why the Vermont senator’s exchange Sunday with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News is noteworthy.
Mr. Sanders said that he is open to raising the current 39.6% top marginal income-tax rate to as high as 90%. The self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” also explained how he would increase the death tax “so that [Donald] Trump and his billionaire friends and their families will end up paying more.” Mr. Stephanopoulos replied that the numbers still don’t compute. “To pay for all of your programs, you’re going to have to do more than tax the top 1%,” he said. “How far below the top 1% are you going to go with tax hikes?”
The senator’s initial response was denial. “That’s not true that we have to go much further below [the top earners],” said Mr. Sanders, insisting that he could fund everything from tuition-free college to infrastructure repair simply by eliminating corporate tax breaks and implementing a financial transactions levy. When pressed, however, the senator conceded that his spending proposals require much more revenue than the Learjet set could produce. “Guaranteeing paid family and medical leave,” he allowed, would “require a small increase in the payroll tax,” and he then agreed with Mr. Stephanopoulos that the tax “would hit everybody.”
Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal: Bernie Sanders and the Soak-the-Rich Myth