In an interview which, like all of her interviews, went viral, freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) floated the idea of almost doubling the top income tax rate to 70% to help cover her radical green agenda. But with the top 20% of earners already paying 88.1% of all federal income taxes, would voters really support such a dramatic top rate tax hike?
"People are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes," the self-described "democratic socialist" told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an early January interview. "You look at our tax rates back in the ’60s, and when you have a progressive tax-rate system, your tax rate, let’s say, from $0 to $75,000 may be 10% or 15%, etc. But once you get to the tippy tops, on your 10 millionth dollar, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60% or 70%. That doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate, but it means that as you climb up this ladder, you should be contributing more."
A new The Hilll-HarrisX survey of 1,002 voters (481 male, 521 female) conducted Saturday and Sunday found that nearly six in ten voters (59%) say they'd support Ocasio-Cortez's 70% top tax rate idea — "at least presently," The Hill notes. The representative, the outlet underscores, has not actually submitted any legislation; in other words, a majority of people like the idea in theory — and without any additional tax hikes mentioned beyond a 70% tax on $10 million and up.
"Currently the top tax rate is 37%," the survey question reads. "Would you favor or oppose a tax proposal that would apply a 70% rate to the 10 millionth dollar and beyond for individuals making 10 million a year or more in reportable income?"
When The Hill drilled down a little further into the data, it found that a 70% tax rate on $10 million or more had majority support among both men and women, Southerners and rural voters, both parites and Independents — and even had pretty solid support among Republican men.
While women support the idea 62-38%, men back it 55-45%. It earned 57-43% suppport among Southerners, 56-44% support among rural voters, and 45-55% among Republican men. Independent voters liked the notion 60-40%. Unsurprisingly, the biggest fans were Democrats, who backed the idea 71-29%.
While Ocasio-Cortez did specify that her 70% top tax rate would only apply to the 10 millionth dollar and beyond, she suggested in the interview that it would likely accompany additional rate hikes, referencing past tax rates that did so from the '50s and '60s and stressing that "as you climb up this ladder you should be contributing more."
As The Daily Wire highlighted last week, at the current tax rates, which include a top tax rate of 37%, the top quintile pay nearly 90% of all federal income taxes:
The top 20% of households paid 88.1% of federal income taxes, and 69.5% of total federal taxes in 2015, ATR notes, citing the most recent numbers provided by the Congressional Budget Office. That tax burden was higher than the total share of income enjoyed by that group: 55% before taxes and 48.3% after taxes.
The top quintile paid an average federal tax rate of 26.7% that year, reducing the group's average income from $292,000 to $215,000. (The top 81-90% of earners averaged $157,000 and saw that reduced to $125,000.)
The top one percent (around 1.2 million households) paid 39.4% of federal income taxes and 26.2% of total federal taxes, at an average total tax rate of 33.3%, dropping its average income from $1.9 million to $1.2 million. Its total percent of income was 16.6% before taxes and 13.2% after taxes.