By Brooke Singman
Published February 01, 2019
Freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar floated taxing the wealthy at a rate of up to 90 percent, joining fellow Democrats pushing for much higher rates on the top bracket to pay for sought-after programs like "Medicare-for-all."
In an interview this week on “Through Her Eyes,” a new weekly show on Roku, Ilhan, D-Minn., suggested “a few things” to change when looking to pay for high-cost programs.
“One of them is that we can increase the taxes that people are paying who are the extremely wealthy in our communities,” she explained. “So, 70 percent, 80 percent, we’ve had it as high as 90 percent. So, that’s a place we can start.”
She added: “The one percent must pay their fair share.”
Omar also discussed her thinking regarding taxes on the wealthy during an appearance Thursday on “The Daily Show.”
“America has money. ... We don’t have a problem of scarcity really. What we have is a problem of moral courage. Our budgets are supposed to be an example of our moral values, and so this is why I got on the Budget Committee because I’m excited to make sure that we have a budget that’s reflective of our values,” Omar said.
She added: “We need to make sure that we’re holding the special interest accountable, that we’re getting money out of politics, that we are taxing the uber-rich, that the one percent pays their fair share.”
Omar’s comments come as several high-profile Democrats propose high-cost federal programs and higher taxes on top earners.
Just this week, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who could launch another White House bid in 2020, offered a plan to expand the estate tax on the wealthy, including a 77 percent tax rate on billionaires’ estates.
Sanders’ bill, called the “For the 99.8% Act,” would tax the estates of the 0.2 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million. If the proposal passed, the plan would impose a 45 percent tax on the value of an estate between $3.5 million and $10 million, and a 50 percent tax on the value of an estate between $10 million and $50 million, according to Fox Business Network. The plan would generate approximately $2.2 trillion from 588 billionaires in the country.
"Our bill does what the American people want by substantially increasing the estate tax on the wealthiest families in this country and dramatically reducing wealth inequality,” Sanders said in a statement. “From a moral, economic, and political perspective our nation will not thrive when so few have so much and so many have so little."
2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., also announced a plan to raise taxes on the wealthy, applying the push to “ultra-millionaires,” or those with more than $50 million in assets.
Meanwhile, another 2020 hopeful, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., this week renewed her support for Medicare-for-all.
Several independent studies have estimated such a plan would cost about $25 to $35 trillion or more over a 10-year period.
Meanwhile, freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has floated her own proposals, planning to introduce an expansive Green New Deal plan in the coming days.
A draft text of the plan that has circulated around Congress before laid out a framework that includes eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and agriculture and “dramatically” expanding energy sources to meet 100 percent of power demand through renewable sources. The proposal also includes a job-guarantee program offering “a living wage job to every person who wants one;” a “just transition” for workers affected by climate change; basic income programs; universal health care and more.
The text of the new bill is not yet available.
As part of her plan to fund the program, Ocasio-Cortez recently suggested a 70 percent tax on the wealthy, saying that the sweeping government expansion could be paid for in part by taxpayers contributing “their fair share.”
“Once you get to the tippie tops, on your ten millionth, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 percent or 70 percent. 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,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes.”
Fox News' Adam Shaw and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.