America's youngest congresswoman launches term with radical plan
Washington - The daughter of hardscrabble working-class parents, the 29-year-old New Yorker was working toward making good on a campaign promise.
Published: Sun 6 Jan 2019, 8:46 PM
Last updated: Sun 6 Jan 2019, 10:49 PM
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez began her term as the youngest woman ever elected to the US Congress with a bang this week by proposing to tax the ultra-rich at 60 or 70 per cent.
The daughter of hardscrabble working-class parents, the 29-year-old New Yorker was working toward making good on a campaign promise.
"People are going to have to pay their fair share of taxes," she told CBS television's "60 Minutes," in excerpts released ahead of its Sunday broadcast.
The proposal is part of an ambitious tax plan dubbed the "Green New Deal" that aims to eliminate carbon emissions by 2030. The self-described Democratic Socialist nicknamed AOC suggested taxing the ultra-wealthy up to 70 percent in order to finance the plan.
"It's going to require a lot of rapid change that we don't even conceive as possible right now. What is the problem with trying to push our technological capacities to the furthest extent possible?" she asked.
To pay for the plan, Ocasio-Cortez floated the idea of tax rates as high as 70 per cent on the ultra-rich.
She referred to the progressive taxation system that was in place in the 1960s before Ronald Reagan took office as president when the top earners paid 70 per cent in taxes. That rate then gradually dropped.
"You look at our tax rates back in the 60s and when you have a progressive tax rate system, your tax rate, let's say, from zero to $75,000 may be 10 per cent or 15 per cent, et cetera," Ocasio-Cortez said.
"But once you get to, like, the tippy tops, on your 10 millionth dollar, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 per cent. That doesn't mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate. But it means that as you climb up this ladder you should be contributing more."
The top marginal tax rate is now 37 per cent, following President Donald Trump's fiscal reforms. It was previously at 39.6 per cent.
Even though it has little chance of success, the proposal backed by the young lawmaker has already garnered significant support.
It landed her on the front page of the New York Daily News, an image of which Ocasio-Cortez was quick to retweet.
A Washington Post analysis found that if the approximately 16,000 Americans who earn more than $10 million each paid 70 percent income taxes for any revenue above that marker, the federal government would rake in around $72 billion per year.