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February 4 2019

Millennial Monday: Seeking “Intergenerational Justice” Through a Wealth Tax Won’t Help Millennials

by Betsy Pearson

With new Democratic candidates announcing their run for presidency every day, the anti-capitalist economic agenda is growing harder to ignore. Despite the escalating conflict in Venezuela, millennials seem to think socialist economics belong in North America as well. Presidential hopefuls are listening, and rolling out economic policies, including the controversial “Wealth Tax.”

A wealth tax is essentially an additional tax on every asset that a person owns. The rationale behind this aggressive tax plan is that the government decides that wealthy can afford to pay more into public funds through taxation.

Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax plan has stirred quite the debate from newsrooms to social media feeds. In it, she explains that her new proposal aims to reduce wealth concentration at the “tippy top”. Rep. Ilhan Omar took the wealth tax one step further by suggesting a shocking 90% tax on the wealthy. Despite these extreme proposals, millennials seem to support this type of taxation.

Democratic presidential hopeful, Pete Buttigieg, a millennial and the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is campaigning on what he calls “intergenerational justice.” He argues that millennials are on track to be the “first generation to be worse off economically” than their parents.

Millennials feel they have been shortchanged in our capitalist system. Many point to an unprecedented amount of student loan debt preventing them from getting ahead. This is an undeniable problem, but wealth redistribution is hardly the answer.

Wealth tax plans and other socialist economic policies do not work because they confiscate resources the wealthy have in the name of "equality." In this type of system there would be zero incentive for the wealthy to stay in America and create jobs. Without the businesses they own, or the money they spend we would lose jobs and revenue across the country. A complete capitalist nightmare.

In a recent Pew study about the role of government in society, analysts found that a positive view of socialist policies falls along generational lines. However, the participants listed the “unfairness in the economic system that favors the wealthy” to be their main concern, and not directly a capitalist system, per se.

Going into 2020 this gives candidates the chance to defend capitalism, and push back against socialist economic agendas like wealth redistribution. I hope to see advocates for reforming our current system (including reforming crony capitalism, and promoting de-regulation and weakening government's strong hold on our checkbooks).

Young, broke, people searching for a quick fix to what The New York Times calls the “generational gap in both income and wealth,” millennials may find themselves drawn towards the too-good-to-be-true socialist economic agenda. But I urge my generation to think about the long term destruction such economic policies can cause, and not blame capitalism.



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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