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Undecided 44%
Elizabeth Warren22%
Joe Biden14%
Bernie Sanders8%
Pete Buttigieg6%

Response to Hassin Bin Sober (Original post)

Fri Nov 8, 2019, 03:26 PM

18. A wealth tax may be unconstitutional and will be tied up in the courts for a long time


I personally doubt that the proposed Wealth Tax is constitutional. The direct tax clause of the US constitution is clear and the 16th Amendment does not authorize this tax

Additionally, a wealth tax would almost certainly face a legal challenge from well-funded conservative opponents. And itís genuinely unclear whether it would ultimately be ruled constitutional. The issue isnít that Congress canít enact a wealth tax. Itís that if a wealth tax counts as a ďdirectĒ tax, Congress would have to ensure that the amount of money coming from each state was roughly the same on a per-capita basis, as there is a provision of the Constitution that bans direct taxes unless the amount collected is drawn equally from the states based on their populations. Given that wealth is not evenly distributed across the states, that equal distribution would be functionally impossible to ensure.

The fate of a wealth tax, then, would hinge on whether it counts as a direct tax. Thatís a tough question to answer, because the Constitution itself doesnít really define what a direct tax is, beyond the fact that the category includes a poll tax, which is a fixed amount charged for every person. Taxes like tariffs and certain others that canít be fairly distributed on a per-person basis are generally not considered direct taxes. But how all of this would apply to a wealth tax isnít entirely clear. The Supreme Court weighed in on this question more than 100 years ago ó and not in the wealth taxís favor. In 1895, the court struck down a federal income tax law because it taxed income generated from property, including land and other kinds of personal property, like stocks and bonds. The decision was controversial, and Congress and the states effectively reversed part of it 20 years later with the passage of the 16th Amendment which allowed Congress to tax income without worrying about how evenly it was distributed. But Congressís authority to tax wealth wasnít addressed by the amendment, and the Supreme Court hasnít really returned to the issue in the past century.

Warrenís defenders argue, however, that the court simply got it wrong back in 1895, and that a modern wealth tax wouldnít count as a direct tax. But the courtís right-leaning justices might approach the tax with a less favorable eye. And the existence of the old precedent could give the courtís conservative justices a way to dispatch a wealth tax relatively easily, which gives experts like Daniel Hemel pause. ďA wealth tax could raise trillions of dollars ó or, if itís struck down by the Supreme Court, it could raise nothing,Ē said Hemel, a law professor at the University of Chicago. ďThatís a really big risk if you care about the redistribution of income and youíre trying to figure out how to get it done.Ē

This tax is not likely to survive legal challenge
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Hassin Bin Sober Nov 8 OP
guillaumeb Nov 8 #1
CentralMass Nov 8 #3
guillaumeb Nov 8 #4
Red Oak Nov 8 #2
Demsrule86 Nov 8 #12
Buzz cook Nov 8 #14
Demsrule86 Nov 8 #19
Buzz cook Nov 8 #22
Uncle Joe Nov 8 #5
world wide wally Nov 8 #6
BeyondGeography Nov 8 #7
redqueen Nov 8 #8
Buzz cook Nov 8 #16
Hoyt Nov 8 #9
tirebiter Nov 8 #10
Hassin Bin Sober Nov 8 #13
tirebiter Nov 8 #15
Buzz cook Nov 8 #17
tirebiter Nov 8 #20
Buzz cook Nov 8 #21
colsohlibgal Nov 8 #11
LineNew Reply A wealth tax may be unconstitutional and will be tied up in the courts for a long time
Gothmog Nov 8 #18
tirebiter Nov 9 #23
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