Billionaire claims ultra wealthy are being attacked for no reason

Tax was eventually removed from White House’s $1.75 trillion plan

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Monday 01 November 2021 18:47
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Congress Debates The ‘Billionaire Tax’

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A billionaire investor has complained that the ultra-wealthy are being attacked “for no reason” and that there is “no sympathy” for America’s richest people.

Leon Cooperman, who is worth an estimated $2.5bn, says that original proposals by lawmakers to tax billionaires in Joe Biden’s spending package was “baloney”.

Mr Cooperman has been a vocal critic of the kind of wealth tax proposed by the likes of Senator Elizabeth Warren, that has now been removed from the $1.75 trillion proposal.

“I believe in a progressive income-tax structure, and that rich people should pay, and do pay, more in taxes,” the veteran hedge fund manager told Insider.

“We, however, don’t need new forms of taxation. Get rid of the loopholes. It’s unbelievable.They’re attacking billionaires for no reason.”

Democrats had proposed the billionaire’s tax in the White House’s original spending plan, but as the proposal shrunk from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion it was scuttled.

“There’s no sympathy for billionaires,” Mr Cooperman added.

“But it makes no sense to me. Just raise the income tax, have a minimum tax, no problem with that. We don’t need wealth taxes.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CNBC that the spending package would be “fully paid for” in part by getting wealthy Americans to pay more taxes.

But she admitted that the billionaires tax had died in negotiations.

“The raisers we have, though, are appropriate, fair. While there isn’t a mark-to-market billionaires’ tax, I think it’s been agreed that individuals earning high incomes ... will pay a surtax on their income tax rates,” Ms Yellen said.

“That hits really high-income individuals.”

If passed, the huge spending bill will impose a 15 per cent minimum tax on corporate profits by large corporations, adopt the 15 per cent minimum global tax negotiated by Ms Yellen and apply a 5 per cent surtax rate on individual income above $10 million.

That tax rate would rise another 3 per cent on income above $25 million.

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