One Social Security fix that should be on the table
Story by Brett Arends • Yesterday 7:42 AM
If politicians are serious about wanting to rescue Social Security, they should put a wealth tax on the table.
A wealth tax—where the government taxes assets instead of income—has a lot to commend it, including fairness and simplicity. And actually, a very low such tax could solve most of Social Security’s looming funding crisis without making anyone scream too loud.
Wealth taxes have a bad rap, possibly because Democratic Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren took the idea to extremes during her 2020 run for the White House, but they have a more respectable history than many people realize.
Among their devotees are the frugal, capitalist, ultraconservative Swiss. Many of the Swiss cantons, equivalent to states or cities, levy wealth taxes on residents and that includes Geneva and—gasp—Zurich, the home of Swiss bankers.
Zurich levies wealth taxes rising up to 0.3% of net worth, on net worth over about $3.5 million, while Geneva starts at 0.175% and goes up to 0.45% on net worth over about $2 million.
That’s a long way from Warren’s proposal, which rose as high as 6%—remember: per year—on wealth over $1 billion.
Read: Can Social Security keep pace with high inflation? Maybe not, but you can still fight back.
The Swiss wealth taxes are on top of income taxes rising as high as 46%. We always think the grass is greener on the other side, but it rarely is.