Mitch McConnell slams Democrats' proposal to tax billionaires, calling it a 'harebrained scheme' to penalize people who 'invested wisely'

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • McConnell criticized Democrats' plan to tax billionaires' assets, calling it a "harebrained scheme."
  • The proposal by Sen. Ron Wyden would annually tax the increased value of wealthy people's assets.
  • McConnell said it would penalize those who "invested wisely."

Democrats have a plan to finance their scaled-down social-spending bill with a tax on billionaires' assets. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday was quick to oppose that idea.

"This harebrained scheme would have the IRS penalizing people who invested wisely and compensating people who have invested poorly," McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor.

The "scheme" McConnell was referring to is Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden's " billionaires tax ," which would impose annual taxes on the increased value of the assets of the wealthiest Americans, even if they're not sold, or "realized." Assets like stocks are taxed only when they're sold, which is an incentive for people to keep them and pass them on to heirs.

As Insider previously reported , Wyden's proposal differs from Sen. Elizabeth Warren's ultramillionaire tax , which would place a 2% tax on household net worth between $50 million and $1 billion and a 3% tax on household net worth over $1 billion. President Joe Biden previously indicated he supported Wyden's proposal.

But Republicans have been adamant in opposing any form of tax hike on the wealthy and corporations. McConnell said during his remarks that even after "disappointing" jobs reports and "one historic inflation report after another," Democrats still thought big tax hikes "are just what the doctor ordered."

"Our Democratic colleagues and President Joe Biden are behind closed doors dreaming up creative new ways to grab literally historic amounts of the American people's money," McConnell said.

A core component of Democrats' goals in their social-spending bill is to ensure the wealthy pay their fair share, and Wyden's tax on billionaires might be the way for them to accomplish that.

But as Insider's Joseph Zeballos-Roig reported , Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona - a centrist Democratic holdout on Biden's economic agenda - opposes undoing President Donald Trump's tax cuts, which means Democrats may not be able to change the tax code to the scale they had hoped. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, another centrist Democrat pushing back on components of the bill, has indicated he's open to a billionaires tax.

Since Democrats don't need Republican support to pass their reconciliation bill, they will likely be able to include some form of a tax on the wealthy. But given Sinema's and Manchin's opposition to a number of progressive priorities in the bill, measures like free community college and a five-year expanded child tax credit have already been dropped.

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Comments / 371

Karen Fulford Walker

Well of course he is against that because he is a very rich man living in a state full of poverty. You think McConnell cares about them. He proves the answer to be no all the time.

Andrew L

For decades it's we need to tax the rich,when will you all figure it out it's not going to happen. The politicians themselves are millionaires and billionaires, they pay accountants to make sure they pay little as possible and most know and use loopholes.


Oh Mitch. You are past your congressional exp date. Step down. You and your wife have more money than you will ever spend.


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