Fox News fear mongered about and demonized a wealth tax proposal that would only affect individuals with a net worth of $50 million or more.
Last week, the Your World show discussed a wealth tax being proposed by eight states. Host Neil Cavuto set the tone when he said that California cannot “get away from their fatal attraction for the well-to-do, the one percent, the ones who aren’t paying their fair share.” He added, “now, these states are saying you have to pay up, and even if you leave, you have to continue paying up.”
“What is fair share?” Cavuto “asked,” claiming it “does seem to be a moving target.”
The guest was Mark Meckler, a Tea Partier and self-described “Constitutional Revolutionary.” So we knew before he opened his mouth, where this would be headed.
Meckler said he’s a former resident of California who, four years ago, “fled for the great state of Texas for all these reasons.” He called the tax code “out of control” and said “the punishment aspect of it is extreme.” He claimed, “all these blue states are simply driving people away and driving the wealth creators away, driving them to red states.”
It's true that people in cities and in cold states are moving to southern states with lower taxes. But nobody mentioned that blue states subsidize a lot of red states.
This being Fox, the two pundits wouldn’t just argue against the plan but demonized it. Cavuto asked about the plan – which by the way, the Los Angeles Times says is unlikely to pass there - “I just wonder to what end?” He said California is “knee deep in a deficit right now,” whereas a year ago it had a $100 billion surplus. “So, they want to patch that over by taxing the rich, and they already have about the highest taxes on upper income in the country, but New York considering the same, Illinois considering the same.”
Meckler picked up the ball. “The end is a political end,” he said. “It’s very popular for politicians to say they’re going to tax the wealthy.” But, he claimed, “It’s going to drive them away, it ultimately always drives down tax revenue.”
Cavuto piled on. “The assets you have, the artwork you own, the land you own," would count as net worth, he said. "This is winding that out considerably.”
“I don’t think this withstands Constitutional scrutiny,” Meckler said. “California says four years out from the time you leave, and honestly that’s violative of what’s called the Dormant Commerce Clause. … It leads to deeper deficits continuing for blue states.”
FACT CHECK: As CalMatters reported, this California tax would only affect “individuals with a net worth of $50 million or more, taxing their wealth at 1% annually. Wealth beyond $1 billion would be taxed at 1.5%.” It would likely apply to only about 23,000 households, the wealthiest 0.1% in the state, and is projected to raise about $21.6 billion in revenue per year. Furthermore, Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez found that while some people would move to avoid the higher taxes, the number and impact would be “small.”
You can watch it below, from the January 25, 2023 Your World.
Since that time, they have really only needed to top up the discontent, rage and spite they had nurtured every now and then with booster shots of cunning lies and conspiracy garbage.
We must continue to search for the antidote, for the one critical ‘game-changer’ that will turn the tide once and for all. Lesson endeth :)