Bernie Sanders Wants a 97 Percent Tax Rate on the 400 Richest Americans
When he appeared on ABC’s This Week last Sunday, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders was asked how he responds to the claim that he and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren—both of whom champion progressive policies like making public college free and abolishing private prisons—are pretty much the same. “Elizabeth, I think, as you know, has said that she is a capitalist through her bones,” Sanders replied. “I’m not.”
Sanders has long identified as a democratic socialist, and on Monday he unveiled an economic plan that would dramatically reshape the American economy. Called the “Corporate Accountability Plan,” the most fundamental change in Sanders’s proposal would force companies with more than $100 million in annual revenue to come under partial employee ownership—20 percent of a company’s stock would be set aside in an employee-controlled fund and pay dividends to workers, which they campaign estimates would come to $5,000 a year. The plan also calls for permanently banning stock buybacks, when a company repurchases its shares—a common practice when businesses are flush with excess cash that helps them consolidate ownership or maintain stock prices. On top of that, 45 percent of the company’s board would have to be employee-elected.
The Corporate Accountability Plan also takes aim at corporate taxes. In the statement released with the plan, Sanders writes, “If we are serious about reforming the tax code and rebuilding the middle class, we have got to demand that the most profitable corporations pay their fair share in taxes.” The Sanders campaign estimates that if the tax plan were in place last year, Amazon would have paid $3.8 billion in income tax rather than nothing.