Ocasio-Cortez: 'No question' Trump is racist

In an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said there was "no question" the President is racist.

Posted: Jan 7, 2019 7:24 PM
Updated: Jan 7, 2019 7:29 PM

In a bit of good news for those who want more (or at least some) substance in their politics, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, is attracting attention for her proposal to raise income tax rates on upper-income earners, all the way up to 70%. Granted, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is not getting as much attention for her tax policy as for her dancing, but at least the coverage of her tax ideas is a start toward talking about things that really matter.

And it is a good start. Ocasio-Cortez is pointing a spotlight on the pressing issue of economic inequality in America, and on the role of current American tax policy in fomenting it. To keep things short, the rich in America are really rich, and are getting richer, and our tax laws are helping them do it. That is not good for the health of our democracy. Ocasio-Cortez is right to demand change.

But the congresswoman's particular idea for change nonetheless falls short.

There are two broad dimensions to any tax system -- what is being taxed, and at what rate. Ocasio-Cortez's proposal, like many Democratic plans, focuses only on the rate part.

And while it is true that America has had a 70% top income tax rate -- which it got when our first great tax-cutting President, John F. Kennedy, cut the top rate from 90% -- things did not work out so well for liberals under it. High earners used loopholes to avoid the rate.

Worse, high tax rates fueled a political revolution that led to Ronald Reagan's presidency. Reagan slashed the marginal rate on top earners all the way down to 28%, and it has stayed under (even if just under) 40% ever since. Reagan is still a hero to many for his anti-tax stance, and Democrats have been playing defense on tax policy for decades.

Does history and common sense thus dictate that progressivity in tax is dead? No. It just requires a bit more analysis.

The central problem today with the income tax is not its rate structure, but with what it covers -- and what it doesn't cover. In particular, the income tax rates do not apply to "unrealized appreciation," which is what happens when the rich get richer without so much as touching actual cash. To illustrate, the radical corporate income tax cuts in President Trump's signature tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, led to a rise in stock prices that benefitted stock owners, tax-free. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, for one ready example, got a one-time $29 billion windfall from Trump's tax cuts. As the principal owner, Buffett himself benefited to the tune of billions. But Buffett paid no tax on his very good day.

The fundamental flaw in the US tax system is that we tax wages, not wealth. If America were to follow Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's lead, high income workers would be facing higher taxes, up to 70% for those with more than $10 million of taxable income. Many upper-income earners would be tempted to move, or retire, or shift their financial plans to show fewer wages and all of them, as workers, are shouldering a hefty tax burden as is. Meantime, the truly rich, who do not have to work, or work in the ways ordinary folk do, would continue to pay nothing on their accumulated wealth. That's crazy.

Democrats should be looking to change what is being taxed, to move to a system, such as a progressive spending tax, that would make the truly rich, who now pay nothing, pay something.

Not convinced, ye liberals of little faith? Consider this. While we can and should admire Ocasio-Cortez's energy, passion, courage, intellect and ambition, her proposal to raise the top income tax rate to 70% would do nothing to those many American billionaires who pay little or no tax on their wealth. Two you may have heard of? How about Jared Kushner and President Donald J. Trump.

Find a way to tax the likes of them, and lots of us can start dancing.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 750432

Reported Deaths: 13764
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1031991782
Lake556411007
Allen41662691
St. Joseph36974564
Hamilton36561417
Elkhart29390459
Tippecanoe22886225
Vanderburgh22549400
Porter19348325
Johnson18432388
Hendricks17608317
Clark13206193
Madison13139344
Vigo12608253
LaPorte12415221
Monroe12188175
Delaware10954198
Howard10285225
Kosciusko9619119
Hancock8562145
Bartholomew8164157
Warrick7856156
Floyd7781180
Grant7232179
Wayne7160201
Boone6939103
Morgan6746141
Dubois6214118
Marshall6208116
Cass6000109
Dearborn589578
Henry5895109
Noble580787
Jackson508975
Shelby500896
Lawrence4738122
Gibson444593
Clinton441455
Harrison441073
DeKalb439485
Montgomery436390
Whitley406343
Huntington402481
Steuben399759
Miami393169
Jasper387454
Knox375890
Putnam372160
Wabash360683
Ripley346970
Adams345355
Jefferson335785
White331553
Daviess3033100
Wells295181
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay266448
Washington245234
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234431
Starke227958
Fountain220348
Sullivan214343
Owen211658
Fulton202142
Jay200932
Carroll193420
Orange188155
Perry187137
Rush175826
Vermillion174644
Franklin170335
Tipton166146
Parke149316
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120547
Newton113736
Brown104043
Crawford102316
Benton101414
Martin91615
Warren83815
Switzerland8118
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1108146

Reported Deaths: 20122
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1286421460
Cuyahoga1157382208
Hamilton813551248
Montgomery525311041
Summit48395999
Lucas43343818
Butler38951604
Stark33318929
Lorain25658504
Warren24580303
Mahoning22355603
Lake21166387
Clermont20111253
Delaware18841135
Licking16660222
Fairfield16570204
Trumbull16537482
Medina15603271
Greene15272247
Clark14233306
Wood13287198
Portage13242214
Allen11910239
Richland11601211
Miami10843224
Wayne9130222
Columbiana9029230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8658122
Tuscarawas8643248
Marion8641138
Erie8056164
Ashtabula7147179
Hancock6996132
Ross6943161
Geauga6834150
Scioto6534105
Belmont6155174
Union584549
Lawrence5726102
Jefferson5675158
Huron5544122
Sandusky5439125
Darke5415129
Seneca5347126
Washington5318109
Athens523660
Auglaize501887
Mercer487385
Shelby476595
Knox4570112
Madison444065
Ashland435597
Putnam4336103
Defiance432298
Fulton432072
Crawford4036110
Brown402461
Logan387577
Preble3848104
Clinton379166
Ottawa373581
Highland359665
Williams348078
Champaign344258
Guernsey324853
Jackson318154
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin274965
Henry273367
Holmes2699101
Coshocton268960
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240750
Wyandot234556
Hocking220162
Carroll197148
Paulding176542
Meigs148240
Monroe136344
Noble136039
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85517
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 74°
Angola
Clear
° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: °
Huntington
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 74°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Showers and storms are possible Saturday morning, but the chance of rain will stick around all day long.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events