Although all ten Democratic presidential candidates on the debate stage Wednesday night have been spending much of the campaign trail arguing over why their policies are the country’s only chance at salvation, there is one area in which they all find common ground: an all-consuming passion for bloated government programs funded by taxpayer’s dollars. However, they all disagree vehemently on how to target the wealthy who pay those taxes.
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts engaged in one of the first scuffles of the fifth Democratic debate in Atlanta, Georgia, when they argued over Warren’s proposed wealth tax. Warren continued her routine of describing a tax increase and explaining how many programs she would force those taxpayers to fund using those tax proceeds. The first tax plan she touted on Wednesday night was her wealth tax proposal: paying 2 cents on every dollar above a person’s $50 millionth, and another 1 percent on top for that on assets over $1 billion.
Booker fought back, arguing that a wealth tax is not the direction in which the country needs to move, citing failures of similar taxes in Europe to defend his criticism.
“The tax the way you’re putting it forward, I’m sorry, it’s cumbersome,” Booker said. “It’s been tried by other nations.” Instead, he says the U.S. must refocus on “how to give more people opportunities to create wealth, to grow businesses, to have their American dream.”
“We as Democrats have got to start talking not just about how we tax from a stage, but how we grow wealth in this country amongst those disadvantaged communities that are not seeing it.” Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Elizabeth Warren square off on the wealth tax. #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/968bAfX7po
— CNBC (@CNBC) November 21, 2019
However, his issues with a wealth tax are purely organizational, as he still wants to penalize wealth as much as his fellow candidates. He called for an increase in capital gains, increase in death taxes, and then pivoted to a federal $15 minimum wage. Booker’s subsequent pleas for putting money into the economy fall flat when he is advocating for massive tax hikes that will stall economic growth.