订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

领导力

北京pk10走势图 带连线

Josh Hoxie 2018年12月04日

贫富差距扩大绝非不可避免。前几代美国人都推出了大胆的政策来解决这个问题并达到了目的。

2018年6月1日,沃尔顿家族成员罗伯、爱丽丝和吉姆(从左至右)在于阿肯色州费耶特维尔召开的沃尔玛股东大会上发言。美国的最富有家庭正变得更加富裕。他们应该缴纳财富和继承税吗?图片来源:Rick T. Wilking—Getty Images

随着继承人手中的财富价值直线飙升,美国的顶尖富有家族呈蒸蒸日上之势。与此同时,大多数家庭却在努力维持生计。

除了简单地提高所得税外,对此或许还能做些什么吧?

我参与撰写的新报告《亿万富翁财源2018》(Billionaire Bonanza 2018)以解决方案为着眼点,探讨了贫富差距不断扩大的问题。我们的主要结论之一是,仅在过去几十年中,美国三大富有家族——沃尔顿(沃尔玛)、科赫和玛尔斯家族的财富增长了近60倍。

在此期间,平均家庭财富却下降了3%。

在镀金时代,也就是19世纪90年代到20世纪20年代,贫富差距和如今一般无二。当时的改革者用税法打破了那个时代的庞大富裕家族。他们在1916年设立了联邦遗产税,开始对财富的代际转移征税;同时对富人征收高额边际所得税,1931年时税率为25%,第二年猛增至63%,1944年和1945年最富有家庭的税率曾高达94%。

随之而来的是财富所有权的大规模转移,从20世纪30年代到80年代,贫富差距已从极度巨大变得相当平均。和20世纪80年代相比,今天的情况出现了巨大倒退——我们基本上回到了镀金时代顶峰的起步点。

而出现退步的原因则是科赫等亿万富翁用他们的强大财力推动大规模减税,比如21世纪初布什政府下调税率以及特朗普最近的减税行动(实际上,就在众议院就特朗普减税计划投票的第二天,科赫兄弟为该法案的制定者之一,众议院议长保罗·瑞安提供了50多万美元资金)。

我们应该再次大刀阔斧地进行改革。

一个普遍的建议是提高对富有阶层征收的阶梯式所得税,显然任何解决方案都会包括这项措施。另外两条税收途径得到的关注则相对较少,而我们的报告正集中于此。

首先是对极富有人群直接征税。具体来说就是对0.1%的最富有家庭征收1%的财产税,标准是财产超过2000万美元。智囊机构税收和经济政策研究所(ITEP)和我分享了他们即将公布一项研究成果,那就是今后10年这样的财富税可征得近1.9万亿美元税款。

第二个办法是将高额遗产按普通收入征税。现行联邦遗产税在一定程度上有这样的作用,但此项制度饱受亿万富翁漏洞之苦,过多的豁免也虚弱了它的威力。捐赠者保留年金信托就是漏洞之一,谢尔登·阿德尔森和唐纳德·特朗普等亿万富翁都通过它来规避遗产税。2013年发现该漏洞的税务律师估算,2000年以来的税收因此流失了逾1000亿美元。

创造税收并打破财富集中局面的更有效途径是联邦继承税。继承税和遗产税的区别在于前者扩大了联邦所得税的范围,将大规模财富继承囊括在内。世界各地都有继承税,美国也有六个州设立了这种税制。

纽约大学法学教授莉莉·巴彻尔德已经勾勒出了征收继承税的框架。她指出,继承财富占所有家庭财富的十分之四,而且遗产正以每年约5000亿美元的速度增长。

巴彻尔德建议对继承财富征收所得税和15%的附加费。个人终生免税额为210万美元,也就是可以免税继承210万美元的财富——巴彻尔德据此估算,今后10年征收的继承税款可达2000亿美元左右。如果将免税额小幅调降至125万美元,则今后10年最多可征收6700亿美元的税款。

正常情况下,大多数巨额财富到了曾孙那一辈就会散失殆尽,所以常言说“富不过三代”。只有在超级富裕家族积极干涉的情况下,财富才会继续集中,而不是分散开来。

除了在政客身上投入数百万美元来为自己争取数十亿美元的减税,富裕家族还会聘请大量税务会计、理财经理和信托律师,目的是把钱藏到海外。法国经济学家加布里埃尔·祖克曼估算,如今藏在海外避税天堂的财富约占全世界财富的8%。解决这个问题需要全国性行动和全球合作。

贫富差距扩大绝非不可避免。前几代美国人都推出了大胆的政策来解决这个问题并达到了目的。这次也没有理由不成功。(财富中文网)

乔希·霍克西是美国政策研究所(Institute for Policy Studies)的税收和机遇项目负责人。

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

American wealth dynasties are on the rise as the heirs and heiresses of family fortunes watch their wealth skyrocket. Meanwhile, most families struggle to make ends meet.

What, besides simply hiking income taxes, might be done?

A new report I co-authored, Billionaire Bonanza 2018, looks at rising wealth inequality with an eye toward solutions. Included in our key findings is the fact that the three wealthiest families in the U.S.—the Waltons (Walmart), the Kochs, and the Mars—have seen their wealth increase nearly 6,000% just in the past generation.

Median household wealth over the same period went down by 3%.

In the wake of the last Gilded Age—the period from the 1890s to the late 1920s when inequality rivaled periods we see today—reformers used the tax code to break up the immense wealth dynasties of that era. They passed the federal estate tax, a levy on the intergenerational transfer of wealth, in 1916, and instituted high marginal income tax rates on the wealthy, spiking from 25% in 1931 to 63% the next year, and rising as high as 94% on the richest households in 1944 and 1945.

What followed was a great shift in wealth ownership from very unequal to fairly egalitarian from the 1930s to the 1980s—and then a great shift back from the 1980s to today, where we’re basically where we started at the peak of the last Gilded Age.

The shift back came as billionaires like the Kochs used their immense fortunes to push for massive tax cuts, like the Bush tax cuts in the early 2000s, and the Trump tax cuts more recently. (Indeed, on the day after the House voted on the Trump cuts, the Koch brothers handed over a half million dollars to one of the architects behind the bill, House Speaker Paul Ryan.)

We’re due for another era of radical reform.

A common proposal is to increase the progressive income tax on the top brackets, which is obviously part of any solution. But our report focuses on two other ways to use the tax code that get less attention.

The first is to tax extreme wealth directly—specifically, with a 1% tax on the assets of the wealthiest 0.1% of households, those with assets greater than $20 million. Such a wealth tax would raise nearly $1.9 trillion over the next 10 years, according to forthcoming research from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy that was shared with me.

The second idea is to tax large inheritances as ordinary income. The existing federal estate tax was designed in part to do that, but it’s been riddled with billionaire loopholes and weakened by outsized exemptions. Among these loopholes is the grantor retained annuity trust, which has been used by billionaires such as Sheldon Adelson and Donald Trump to dodge estate taxes. The tax lawyer who discovered the loophole estimated in 2013 that it was responsible for over $100 billion in lost tax revenue since 2000.

A more effective way to generate revenue and break up growing concentrations of wealth is a federal inheritance tax. An inheritance tax differs from an estate tax in that it simply extends the federal income tax to include large inheritances. Inheritance taxes exist around the world and are in place in six U.S. states.

New York University law professor Lily Batchelder has put forward a framework for how to implement an inheritance tax. Batchelder points out that inheritances represent roughly $4 out of $10 of all household wealth, and bequests add up to approximately $500 billion per year.

Batchelder proposes applying the income tax to inheritances and levying an additional surcharge of 15%. With a $2.1 million lifetime exemption—meaning you could inherit $2.1 million tax free—she estimates the inheritance tax could generate about $200 billion over 10 years. Reducing the exemption level slightly, to $1.25 million, would bring that up to $670 billion over 10 years.

Under normal conditions, most grand fortunes are dispersed by the time the great-grandchildren come around—hence the old adage, “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” Only when ultra-wealthy families aggressively intervene does wealth continue to concentrate rather than disperse.

Apart from spending millions on politicians to save themselves billions in tax cuts, wealthy families also employ armies of tax accountants, wealth managers, and trust lawyers to hide their money offshore. Today, an estimated 8% of the world’s wealth hides offshore in tax havens, according to French economist Gabriel Zucman. Addressing this problem will require national action and global cooperation.

Rising wealth inequality is far from inevitable. Previous generations of Americans have pushed for bold policies to address inequality and succeeded. There’s no reason this one shouldn’t as well.

Josh Hoxie directs the Project on Taxation and Opportunity at the Institute for Policy Studies.

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏