New Poll: Majority of Americans Support Raising Top Tax Rate to 70%

New Poll: Majority of Americans Support Raising Top Tax Rate to 70%

A new poll found that nearly 60 percent of Americans support New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposal to tax the rich 70% on all income they earn above $10 million.

According to a poll by The Hill and HarrisX, 59 percent of Americans back raising the highest tax rate to 70 percent. Only income earned above a certain threshold would be taxed at that rate under the proposal.

The poll found that the proposal is backed by 62 percent of women, 55 percent of men, 71 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of independents, and even 45 percent of Republicans.

Ocasio-Cortez sparked the debate of tax rates in an interview with “60 Minutes” earlier this month.

The newly-elected Congresswoman pointed out that the wealthiest Americans were taxed 90 percent above a certain threshold during the 1950s and 60s.

"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," she said.

In fact, the threshold was much lower than the $10 million AOC is suggesting. Until 1980, all incomes over $216,000 ($658,000 in today’s dollars) were taxed at 70 percent.

The top marginal tax rate is currently 37 percent, which kicks in at $510,000 for individuals.

Tax rates were very different before Reagan:

The top tax rate in the country has always been much, much higher than the current rate until Ronald Reagan overhauled the system and put the United States on the path to unsustainable financial inequality.

“The record high came in 1944-45, during World War II, when couples making more than $200,000 faced an all-time high of 94 percent,” Politifact points out. “But that wasn’t the only period of high top marginal rates. Between 1932 and 1981, the top tax rate never dropped below 63 percent. And during the eight years of the Eisenhower presidency, from 1953 to 1961, the top marginal rate was 91 percent. (It was 92 percent the year he came into office.)”

AOC could go further:

Though the idea was met with praise by many in the political mainstream, others on the left suggested that Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal was far more moderate than other Democratic-Socialists have proposed.

"There are reasonable critiques of Ocasio-Cortez’s tax plan," New York Magazine points out, like "raising taxes on capital gains might be a more effective way of soaking the superrich; a confiscatory top marginal rate might prove impotent, absent a global war on tax havens; socializing the means of production, under the control of a workers’ state, might be a more technocratically efficacious means of reducing America’s Gini coefficient."