President Donald Trump has changed his positions many times over the years.
For example, Trump was a proponent of the war in Iraq, before coming out against it a couple of years after its start — a point he doesn’t typically acknowledge nowadays.
But as the election season starts to heat up, and the issue of a proposed ‘wealth tax’ takes center stage within the Democratic primary, Trump may have to answer for why he once supported such an idea himself, at a rate that was much higher than some of the candidates for president vying for his job are proposing.
One of those candidates is Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. According to her campaign website, Warren is proposing a rather modest increase in taxes for the “ultra-rich” in the U.S.
Her proposal amounts to a two-tiered system. Earnings made by individuals between $50 million and $1 billion would pay 2 percent more taxes on those dollars earned, while those making over $1 billion would see a 3 percent tax increase.
The tax increases Warren is proposing would not apply to what these earners make on their first $50 million. Even so, Warren cites research from economists that says her proposal could produce $2.75 trillion in revenues for the U.S. government to fund various programs over the course of 10 years.
The president is likely to come out against this kind of proposal as possibly hurting business owners and corporations. After all, his tax plan that passed in 2017 and was implemented in 2018 onward called for reducing taxes on corporations, from 35 percent to 21 percent, Newsweek reported.
The biggest beneficiaries of Trump’s Republican tax plan were the very rich. The top quintile of earners took in two-thirds of the total tax cuts from the bill. The top 1 percent of income earners took in a quarter of all tax cuts the bill produced.
— Democratic Coalition (@TheDemCoalition) October 22, 2019
Things were different in 1999, when Trump was toying around with the idea of a presidential run, perhaps as a Reform Party candidate. In that year, according to an archived report from CNN, Trump was calling for a massive, one-time tax increase on the rich.
The plan would have instituted a 14.25 percent tax increase for Americans earning over $10 million. Though substantial, Trump justified the measure as necessary to help eliminate the national debt, which in 1999 sat at just under $6 trillion. He also suggested it wouldn’t hurt most Americans.
“By my calculations, 1 percent of Americans, who control 90 percent of the wealth in this country, would be affected by my plan,” Trump said.
In addition to the tax increases, Trump said he’d lower taxes for middle-class America. “It is a win-win for the American people, an idea no conventional politician would have the guts to put forward,” Trump explained.
It’s unlikely that Trump would support the same plan today, but it’s interesting to see how things have changed in just 20 years’ time.