Making a Wealth Tax Work

Gabriel Zucman (University of California, Berkeley)

Contrary to popular belief, the US tax system is far from progressive, according to Gabriel Zucman, assistant professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Speaking at a conference on “Combating Inequality” at the Peterson Institute for International Economics on October 17–18, 2019, Zucman argues that a “wealth tax”—such as the ones advocated by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders—would be the most effective way of taxing the very rich in the United States. Wealth taxes have admittedly failed in Europe because of tax evasion and other problems. But Zucman, who is also codirector of the World Inequality Database, contends that the United States is in a better position than Europe to make a wealth tax work.