Constitutional Questions Arise on Warren's 'Ultra-Millionaire' Tax

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s progressive platform as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination would cost trillions, but there are concerns that the “Ultra-Millionaire” wealth tax that she’d need to pay for her plans may or may not prove unconstitutional, experts analyzing her plans are saying.

“A straight-up tax on wealth would fail because direct taxes have to be apportioned among the states on the basis of population,” Ilya Shapiro, director of the Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies told The Washington Free Beacon. “Indirect taxes (or excises) merely have to be uniform across the country, but they apply to transactions as opposed to people … So, what and how will Warren be taxing? The constitutional devil will be in those details.”

Warren, D-Mass., has several major proposals, including fighting opioids, offering free public college and canceling student loan debt, offering universal child care, and creating a green manufacturing investment come with an estimated price tag of almost $4.5 trillion. She has also backed the Green New Deal and Medicare for all, which would also cost trillions in government spending.

Her tax plan calls for people who have assets of more than $50 million to be taxed at 2% a year, and those with assets of more than $1 billion to be hit with a 3% tax.

The Heritage Foundation also says there is disagreement on a constitutional provision that says “direct” taxes can only be levied on a per-person basis. The Constitution does, through the 16th Amendment, provide for an income tax, but not for a wealth tax.


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