Raising the marginal rate on $10 million or more in income to 70% might optimistically help “pay for” a boost of about 1.6% to overall federal spending.

The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein estimates that raising the marginal tax rate to between 60 and 70 percent on incomes above $10 million might raise as much as $720 billion dollars over a decade, or $72 billion per year. There are some 16,000 households that meet that criteria — fewer than 0.05% of all US households. Collectively, their taxable income was about $405 billion in 2016, on which they paid $121 billion in taxes.

Current overall federal spending: $4.47 trillion per year. So raising this marginal rate might help “pay for” a boost of about 1.6% to overall federal spending.

Stein adds, “The real number [of projected new revenue from such a marginal tax hike] is probably smaller than that, because wealthy Americans would probably find ways around paying this much-higher tax.”

One chart that should be of interest — inflation-adjusted per-capita federal spending. It looks like this:

I’m all for discussing policy ideas and investments, but it’d be great to start with numbers that foot.

A migration from a 17% renewables economy to a 100% renewals economy, with Medicare for All and “free” education requires much higher taxes on all brackets. (One study by George Mason University has estimated the cost for Medicare for All to be at $32.6 trillion, about 452x the incremental revenue the marginal tax optimistically would raise.) And, for what it’s worth, science that at least for now, we don’t currently have.



Steve's an entrepreneur and software leader. Most recently, he founded HipHip.app, a way to create celebration cards easily. He also founded bigthanks.org, helping people discover and share productive ways they can respond in times of crisis. Steve's worked on consumer apps, online travel, games, relational databases, management consulting and telecom. He launched Alignvote in 2019, which helped Seattle voters find their best-match political candidates. Steve founded BigOven, the first recipe app for iPhone, now with more than 15 million downloads, which was purchased in 2018. Steve served as Chairman of Escapia Inc., the leading SaaS solution for the US vacation rental industry, sold to Homeaway, now part of Expedia. In 1997, Steve was cofounder, President, CEO and Chairman of VacationSpot, a pioneer in the online reservation of vacation rentals, bought by Expedia in January 2000. At Expedia, Steve was Vice President of Vacation Packages, leading the vacation package and destination services teams, helping to create two patents on the first-ever dynamic vacation packaging system on the Internet, which now represents billions in annual transactions for Expedia. He has keynoted on several occasions at the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA), and taught a graduate level course on the strategic management of innovation at the University of Washington Foster Business School in Seattle, Washington. Steve worked for Microsoft from 1991 to 1997 in a variety of senior marketing and executive positions, and led the creation of the internet games group, helping develop several products and patents related to online multiplayer gaming. He helped launch Microsoft Access and was involved in the acquisition of Fox Software by Microsoft in 1993. He's worked for IBM, Booz-Allen Hamilton and Bell Communications Research. He holds an MS in Computer Science from Stanford University in Symbolic and Heuristic Computation (AI), an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was named a George F. Baker Scholar (awarded to top 5% of graduating class), and a dual BS in Applied Mathematics / Computer Science and Industrial Management from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) with University Honors. Steve volunteers when time allows with Habitat for Humanity, University District Food Bank, YMCA Seattle, Technology Access Foundation (TAF) and other organizations in Seattle.

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