Underneath Fox guest Peter Morici’s complaint that Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s tax plan unfairly taxes those with “only” $50 million was the suggestion that rich people deserve more.
Fox & Friends hosted economist Peter Morici this morning to provide what host Steve Doocy called “a reality check” on Warren’s plan for a wealth tax of two percent annually on assets worth above $50 million and a 3% tax on every dollar of net worth over $1 billion.
“Think about it this way,” Morici said. “Suppose you have assets of $50 million, so you meet her threshold. And then you earn this year another $50 million and you invest 25 [million] of it. On that 25, you’re gonna pay another 1% a year for the rest of your life.”
“So you if you’re a 30 year-old woman, you’re facing an 85% marginal tax rate on that wealth,” Morici continued. “And, by the way, she wants to couple this with a 70% income tax on these people. So in the end, they basically, if they make a buck, they’re gonna have to pay $1.20.”
Doocy worked to amp up the outrage: “Let me see if I get this straight. If you make a buck, you’re going to have to pay $1.20. So you just stop making money, you start paying the government, just hand over fist,” he said. But, apparently, this 30 year-old woman would be just fine with her $75 million.
I’m not an economist and my math skills are not good enough to check these calculations. But I am capable of seeing that along with the scare tactics was the message that the very wealthy are more deserving of their money.
“You see if anybody invests in America that way,” Morici warned, as if smaller investors don’t count.
“No, what you do is you get yourself on a Delta Airlines to London, you get yourself an apartment in Mayfair, and you basically move your money to Britain and you pay your taxes over there,” Morici said.
“I mean, why were American companies leaving for Ireland before Donald Trump became president? One of the things she doesn’t get is, people can get up and leave,” Morici continued. Again, as if the rest of us will far apart without the ultra rich.
Doocy briefly played devil’s advocate: “We’re not talking about just wealthy people,” he pointed out. “We’re talking about super-duper wealthy people who have assets of more than $50 million, right?”
Or maybe Doocy was just handing Morici an opening to argue that $50 million is just a smidge over upper middle class.
“Well, 50 million is big but it’s not as big as you think,” Morici declared. “You work for Fox News long enough and you’re 60 years old, you’ll be surprised how much money you have.”
Then Morici made his rich-people-deserve-ro-have-more pitch explicit:
MORICI: You have to remember, these are the people who finance our startups. These are the people that give us companies like Amazon and Apple, ‘cause they’re the ones with the seed capital. See, they behave like these people sort of clip coupons, they have bonds, and they hang out at the Doral with the president and, you know, that sort of thing. That’s just simply not true. They’re very active people that are investing their money.
Rather than point out that we had a great economy under President Dwight Eisenhower, when the income tax rate was 90% (on roughly $1.7 million for an individual and $3.4 million for a couple, in 2015 dollars), Doocy said “Sure.”
Doocy just happened to have a graphic ready showing the findings of two French economists who claim the 15 richest Americans would have seen their net wealth decline by “more than half, to $433.9 billion, had Warren’s plan been in place since 1982,” Doocy intoned ominiously.
Doocy forgot to mention they’d still have many billions.