Most Americans Support Ocasio-Cortez's Plan to Raise Top Marginal Tax - Rolling Stone
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Most Americans Support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Plan to Raise Top Marginal Tax Rate

Fifty-nine percent of registered voters agree with her proposal

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the Women's March in New York City.

Kristin Callahan/ACE Pictures/Shutterstock

According to a new poll, when it comes to taxing the rich, most Americans are “radical.” The majority of Americans, including 45 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Democrats, expressed support for a proposal by newly-elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to increase the top marginal tax rate to 70 percent on income over $10 million. The highest current tax rate is 37 percent.

When Ocasio-Cortez told Anderson Cooper, during a recent interview on 60 Minutes, that government programs she supports should be funded by raising the top marginal tax rate on the richest Americans, Cooper and others said her proposal was radical. To Ocasio-Cortez’s credit, she did not shy away from the characterization saying, “If that’s what radical means, then call me a radical.”

However, Ocasio-Cortez did add an important qualifier to explain how marginal tax rates work, “That doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate, but it means that as you climb up this ladder you should be contributing more.” That explainer is noteworthy because some purposely use language to muddy the waters and try to confuse and voters, giving them the impression that tax increase proposals like this would affect most Americans, which they do not.

The poll, conducted by The Hill-HarrisX, found that 59 percent of registered voters support a 70 percent tax rate on every dollar a person makes above 10 million annually. The poll found the idea cuts across partisan divides, garnering support from 71 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of independents and 45 percent of Republicans. Along gender lines, 62 percent of women supported the measure, while 55 percent of men agree the top marginal tax rate should be raised to 70 percent.

The proposal would bring the top marginal tax rate back to where it was in the 1970s, when income above $200,000 (the equivalent of $1.3 million in today’s money) was taxed at 70 percent. Ronald Reagan then lowered it in the 80s to 50 percent, and later to 28 percent.

Ocasio-Cortez reacted to the news of the poll in a tweet, naturally, by referencing a decades-old meme, saying to Republicans, “All your base (are) belong to us.” 

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