Given his pivotal role, this extensive Politico profile may be worth your time.

He’s the right man for the job.

As to yesterday’s pitch for the Billionaire Minimum Income Tax . . .

Peter: “Given all your moonshot speculations (with money you can apparently afford to lose), you will soon be among the world’s ‘uber-wealthy’ (if you aren’t already).  So say the value of your shares goes up by $100 million and you pay a minimum $20 million in tax.  Then the value goes down by $50 million. Do you get a refund? I don’t understand how this works, but it sure looks like outright blatant confiscation of wealth. Is this a good thing for society?”

I am not now, nor will I ever, be uber-wealthy.

But let’s say I were.

Never fear: the legislation — summarized here, full text here — makes allowances for the kind of questions, like that one, that immediately spring to mind.

And, no. It’s no more “blatant confiscation of wealth,” in my view, than is the property tax on homes or the income tax on hard-earned wages.

Basically, it’s just a pay-as-you-go capital gains tax instead of the pay-it-all-at-the-end tax we have now (which many avoid because of the “stepped up basis” loophole).

The reason I think it’s good for society is that inequality has reached what might well be considered an immoral extreme that — whether immoral or not — threatens our economic well-being and civil order.

It’s dangerous.

If signed into law, the Billionaire Minimum Tax Act, affecting just a few thousand families, will lean against this corrosive inequality.

That said, I would make one important tweak that costs nothing.

I would adopt an overall frame in the titling of, and messaging around, the law that congratulates these taxpayers for their success and thanks them for the taxes they pay . . . and for their contributions to the economy and for the many other good works most of them do.

Most of them are great people!

It’s just that we should tax their capital gains on a pay-as-you-go basis instead of all at once at the end.

That’s all we’re talking about.



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