How Bernie Sanders’ Tax Plan Can Close the Huge Racial Wealth Gap

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 The debate over taxes—a tussle at the heart of the current “fiscal cliff” discussions—is actually one about racial justice. Since questions of right and wrong must ultimately become about action, what America needs is a new tax policy that would get our financial house in order while fostering racial and economic fairness. The deficit reduction plan of independent United States Sen. Bernie Sanders would do just that.

The core inequity Sander’s plan tackles is that the United States taxes capital gains—income earned from wealth—less than income earned from work. This differential has had broad racial implications.

Average white wealth is 20 times greater than that of African Americans, and 14 times greater than that of Latinos. In taxing wealth at a lower rate than we tax work, America is hardening existing racial disparities into an economic caste system with less mobility and longer odds at success for the non-rich. According to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, the United States has less economic mobility—the degree to which a person can move from being poor to rich—than any other advanced economy on the planet.

By taxing capital gains at the same rate as income earned from work, Sanders’ plan would upend our tax system’s current values and moves our entire economic system closer to the one we all want. 

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