每日新闻更新 — 征富人的税,然后看着他们跑掉 The Daily Update – Tax the rich and watch them run

伯尼·桑德斯(Bernie Sanders)宣布了激进的计划,通过对华尔街征税来免除四千五百万美国人未偿还的学生债务,约为1.6万亿美元。这项名为《全民学院法案》的立法将让所有拥有未偿付学生债务的4500万美国人获得自由,而且还要免除两年制和四年制公立学院和大学的学费和债务。学徒和贸易学校的学生也不必缴纳学费。桑德斯在接受《华盛顿邮报》的采访时说,“这真是一项革命性的提议”;他接着说,“对于深受2008年华尔街大崩溃影响的一代人,这项提议赦免了所有学生的债务,并结束了整整一代人仅仅为了获得大学教育的‘罪行’而被判处一生负债的荒谬‘刑罚’”。

当然这并不是什么新的想法,对华尔街征税也不是第一次提出,但随着明年即将举行的总统选举的到来,民主党候选人正在呼吁调整新的税收范围,不仅要征华尔街的税,而且还要把那些“极端财富”纳入这个范围。他们认为,除了上述可以帮助减免学生的贷款债务之外,财富税可以为所有的事业提供资金,从普及儿童保育到基础设施的改善,从低收入家庭的税收减免再到清洁能源的开发和利用。

事实上,近20名美国亿万富翁签署了一封信,呼吁任何新政府都要对极端财富征税,并表示“无论从道德、道义的角度还是从经济角度来看,美国都有责任对我们的财富课以更多的税”,并补充说“制定财富税符合我们美利坚合众国的利益”。据估计,这项税收可在10年内产生近3万亿美元的收入。

这封信的开头是,“我们致函呼吁所有的总统候选人,他们无论是共和党人还是民主党人,都要支持对仅占美国人口1%的最富有人群的1/10的财富征收适度的税务。以后新的美元税收将来自最富有的阶层,而不是来自中等收入和低收入的美国人”,这封信接着写道,“民意调查显示,无论是共和党人,还是民主党人,还是无党派人士,他们对最富有的美国人课以适度税收得到了大多数美国人的支持。我们希望总统候选人也能认识到这一理念的力量,并与大多数美国人一起支持这项提议”。  

然而,一些民主党候选人希望把这一步迈得更远一些,参议员伊丽莎白·沃伦(Elizabeth Warren)认为应该推出一项“超富裕百万富翁税”的政策,这项政策应该对5亿美元以上的资产征收2%的税,并当资产超过10亿美元时额外征收1%的税,这里说的资产应该包括从金融资产到艺术品、从汽车到游艇的所有财产。因此,如果沃伦的想法能够变成现实,那么美国政府在对艺术品、游艇和老爷车进行估值方面必须非常懂行才行。沃伦计划中的惩罚性措施包括“退出税”,如果有人要放弃他们的公民身份,那么这些人超过5千万美元的财富的40%将被没收。

这个主意听起来还不错,其实之前已经被尝试过了。就拿法国来说,当时就有四万两千名百万富翁在2000年至2012年期间考虑离开法国,鉴于此法国总统埃马纽埃尔·马克龙(Emmanuel Macron)最终放弃了这一想法。

在90年代初期的时候,欧洲还有12个国家有财富税,而到今天只剩下3个国家。经济合作与发展组织(OECD)认为,财富税失败的原因有很多,不仅仅是因为它们对资产丰富但缺乏现金的富人打击最为严重,还因为这些税收破坏了(富人)对投资的决策,从而把超级富人推到其它国家去;这种政策听上去美妙无比,但事实上从来就未能(帮政府)筹集过多少钱。 

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