Women: A Majority in the United States, A Minority in U.S. Government

Andrew Harnik Press PoolThe year 2021 has already been a ground-breaking one for women in national politics. Vice President Kamala Harris became the first woman and person of color to hold the office, the 117th Congress includes the largest number of female members in U.S. history, and President Joe Biden’s cabinet will ultimately include 11 women, setting a new record. The number of women in the cabinet is particularly noteworthy; with 13 men making up the rest of the cabinet, the positions are almost evenly split (although among the heads of the executive departments, there are five women and ten men).1 During this Women’s History Month, just over 100 years since women had their right to vote ratified in the Constitution, the continued expansion of the role of women in government is worth celebrating.

However, despite a trend that has seen more women occupying elected offices around the country each year, the overall representation of women in politics remains disproportionately low. Women make up just under 51 percent of the U.S. population—or to put it plainly, more Americans identify as women than do not.2 Yet women occupy only 26.4 percent of congressional seats (House and Senate), 30.3 percent of state-level executive offices, and 30.9 percent of state-level legislative seats.3

VIEW: “Women in Elective Office 2021,” from Rutgers University

The numbers are even more disproportionate when one looks at women of color in political office. Women of color make up 18.7 percent of the U.S. population, yet they occupy only 9.2 percent of congressional seats, 5.8 percent of state-level executive offices, and 7.5 percent of state-level legislative seats.4 For national and state governments to be genuinely representative of the population by sex and race, we should expect there to be nearly twice as many women in office and nearly three times as many women of color.

VIEW: “Women of Color in Elective Office 2021,” from Rutgers University

There are a litany of factors to account for this discrepancy, from issues as esoteric as gerrymandering and the prolonged incumbency of men to problems as fundamental as systemic racism and barriers to entry for women in careers which lend themselves to running for elected office (such as lawyers, judges, and CEOs).5 However, the discrepancy between the female population and female representation has not gone unnoticed. Dozens of grassroots organizations, nonprofits, and political action committees have emerged and dedicated themselves to supporting women who are interested in running for office at all levels of government. Many of the organizations have seen tremendous success and count dozens of women currently serving in government among their alumnae.

You can learn more about these organizations, ways to get involved, and how to prepare to run for office yourself using these links:

IGNITE (nonpartisan)

VoteRunLead (nonpartisan)

Emily’s List (liberal-progressive)

Maggie’s List (conservative)

Higher Heights for America (liberal-progressive/women of color)

Republican Women for Progress (conservative)

Run for Something (liberal-progressive)

Discussion Questions:

  1. What particular challenges might women face when running for office in your town, in your state, or nationwide?
  2. What other groups do you imagine are underrepresented or overrepresented in government? What reasons might there be to explain this?
  3. As mentioned before, President Biden’s cabinet now consists of 11 women and 13 men, making it closer to being representative of the female share of the population than any other cabinet. Should government bodies make more of an effort to have their membership reflect the demographics of their constituency? If so, how? If not, why not?
  4. Within the political parties themselves, there is a discrepancy in female representation, with far more women running and being elected as Democrats than as Republicans. Currently in Congress, of the 141 women serving, 103 are Democrats (38.3 percent of the party’s seats) and 38 are Republicans (14.6 percent of the party’s seats). Both of these totals fall below the female proportion of the overall population, but why do you believe there is such a discrepancy between the parties?

Related Posts:

New Congress New Ideas

Gender Identity and Official IDs

ERA Won’t Go Away

As always, we encourage you to join the discussion with your comments or questions below!

 

Sources

Featured Image Credit: ANDREW HARNIK/PRESS POOL
[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/15/biden-will-have-more-women-his-cabinet-than-any-president-ever-other-countries-still-do-better/
[2] https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/LFE046219
[3] https://cawp.rutgers.edu/women-elective-office-2021
[4] https://cawp.rutgers.edu/women-color-elective-office-2021
[5] https://www.ilo.org/infostories/en-GB/Stories/Employment/barriers-women#unemployed-vulnerable

 

The 50th Anniversary of the 26th Amendment

student-protests-26th-amendmentCongress passed the 26th Amendment in March 1971; it was ratified by the states and signed by President Richard Nixon by July of that same year.1 The amendment lowered the voting age to 18. It reads:

Section 1

The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

Section 2

The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.2

WATCH: President Nixon Certifies the 26th Amendment

The movement to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 was the product of several decades. In 1942, Representative Jennings Randolph, D-W.Va., introduced the first federal legislation to lower the voting age to 18, arguing, “They possess a great social conscience, are perplexed by the injustices in the world and are anxious to rectify those ills.”3 During World War II, advocates used the slogan, “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote.”4 This slogan became a rallying cry during the Vietnam War because of that war’s unpopularity.5

Primary Source: Letter from the Youth Franchise Coalition to Senator Birch Bayh, D-Ind., Chairman of the Constitutional Amendments Subcommittee (Judiciary)

Image Credit: Scot Wilson; Birch Bayh Senatorial Papers, Indiana University

Debates over access to the ballot remain a central feature of U.S. democracy. Recently, Republicans have proposed at least 250 state laws that would make voting requirements stricter in various ways, while Democrats in Congress are promoting federal legislation to increase voter registration, soften voter ID laws, and require states to make voting more convenient.6 For more on this, see our March 8 post on competing election reform proposals.

READ: From the Current Issues Blog, “Should the Voting Age Be Lowered to 16?”

As debates about elections and voting continue, it is important to pause and reflect on the turning points that expanded suffrage in U.S. elections.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you think that the rallying cry, “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote,” makes a good argument? Why or why not?
  2. Were there other good arguments for lowering the voting age to 18?
  3. Turnout among 18-20-year-old voters lags behind that of other age groups. Why do you think that is the case?
  4. How could schools and other community organizations support the engagement of young people with the political process?
  5. How could political candidates better engage young voters?

This year marks 50 years since the passage and ratification of the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18 in all 50 states. Join us for a conversation this Thursday, March 25, on the importance of this amendment, how young voters have grown over time, and how to engage young people in our democracy.

As always, we encourage you to join the discussion with your comments or questions below!

 

Sources

Featured Image Credit: Tom Barlet; Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection
[1]. History.com: https://www.history.com/topics/united-states-constitution/the-26th-amendment
[2] Congress.gov: https://constitution.congress.gov/constitution/amendment-26/
[3] History.com: https://www.history.com/topics/united-states-constitution/the-26th-amendment
[4] National World War II Museum: https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/voting-age-26th-amendment
[5] National Archives: https://prologue.blogs.archives.gov/2013/11/13/records-of-rights-vote-old-enough-to-fight-old-enough-to-vote/
[6] Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/interactive/2021/voting-restrictions-republicans-states/

 

 

How Can We Overcome Vaccine Skepticism?

There’s been a lot of good news in the fight against COVID-19. The United States has authorized three vaccines for emergency use and drastically ramped up the distribution to states while increasing the administration of doses.1 More than 107 million shots have already been given, with an average of 2.3 million per day.2 President Joe Biden announced that with this increased supply, any adult who wants a vaccine will be able to sign up by May 1, months ahead of previous estimates.3

For all of the progress made with the vaccines—and the demand for them—there are still challenges in getting every American vaccinated. One third of troops have turned down the opportunity to receive a vaccine.4 Nearly 60 percent of nursing home staff have done the same.5 Forty percent of Republicans do not plan on receiving shots.6 Overall, one in four Americans are skeptical of the vaccines, saying they would rather wait to receive one or outright refuse it.7 Some people are wary of the effectiveness or dosage requirements, preferring one vaccine over the others. Some are concerned about safety, as the vaccines were developed and approved in a short period of time compared to the usual process, which can take years.8 Disinformation about vaccines, coupled with political polarization, has caused mistrust of drug manufacturers, government institutions, and authority figures. Others may not see the urgency to receive a vaccine if their community has few COVID-19 cases, or they may prioritize their freedom of choice above all else.

In order to reach herd immunity, prevent infections, and bring an end to the pandemic, everyone must play their part. So, what should be done to encourage Americans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? Here are three ideas:

Promote Scientists and Medical Experts

Professionals in the scientific and medical fields are the premier experts when it comes to the pandemic. They’ve spent their lives studying, researching, and working with infectious diseases. By making themselves known and accessible to the public, just as Dr. Anthony Fauci did when he appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” they help Americans get a better understanding of the importance of vaccines.9 For his part, Dr. Fauci remains a trusted figure with a 72 percent approval rating.10

Advocates of this approach believe that notable experts should be the leading voices in communicating the need to get vaccinated. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines for fully vaccinated people in early March, it provided a preview of a return to normal life—something people could look forward to, get excited about, and be encouraged by.11 Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, even appeared in a brief, engaging video on YouTube to answer common questions about the vaccines so people could get the information they need.12

However, general confidence in these medical experts has decreased, especially among Republicans.13 The language and terminology that the medical community uses is not always the easiest for the general public to understand, and some people still fault medical experts’ evolving guidelines, based on emerging information, as untrustworthy.

Showcase Celebrity Endorsements

Public figures can greatly influence the behavior of the people who look up to them. Just recently, a bipartisan group of former presidents and first ladies—from the Carters to the Obamas—released a video in which they urged every American to get vaccinated, just as they had done.14 President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris also received their vaccines publicly, live on television. But influence is not limited to those in politics; celebrities are just as influential, if not more so.

Arnold Schwarzenegger “had a cool zinger after getting his shot. He squinted at the camera and growled a catchphrase from Terminator 2: Judgment Day: ‘Come with me if you want to live.’”15 Dolly Parton sang her song “Jolene” before she received hers, substituting the word “vaccine” and encouraging her fans to follow her example.16 This strategy is nothing new. In fact, Elvis Presley received his polio vaccination on television, as part of a sweeping vaccination campaign that helped increase the public’s trust in the science.17 Famed NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has proposed letting NBA players “jump the vaccine queue” for this very reason, noting that “health policy professionals suggest that public health campaigns using celebrities should focus on celebrities who are influential in particular communities in order to build trust.”18

However, this strategy runs the risk of perpetuating the idea that celebrities and the well-connected get preferential treatment solely because of their wealth or status. It could further create distrust in the distribution of vaccines if the process seems inequitable.

Empower Community Leaders

Local community leaders know their residents better than anyone else. They have existing relationships and strong ties with the people around them. In turn, people look to their local leaders for guidance and support. In San Jose, California, local activists have been going door-to-door in Black and Hispanic communities to combat vaccine misinformation.19 As one activist explained, “They’ve read all this stuff online, from different news sources, which is confusing. But then they meet me, as someone who has had the shot, and I can give them some real answers.”20 These conversations show that if the vaccine is good enough for someone they know, then it must be good enough for them too.

The same tactics are being utilized by Black churches, which have strong ties to civic action in their communities. Just as initiatives such as “souls to the polls” drive Black voter turnout during election season, churches are looking to increase the vaccination rate of their congregations. One hesitant church-goer in Chicago explained why he decided to get the vaccine. “So, because it’s coming from the church, I decided I would take it—and take my mother to get hers. I am trusting the people I trust. That’s what it came down to. And it was impactful that I heard it from many pastors.”21

However, this strategy is dependent on organizations and leaders that are already established in a community, which drastically vary from place to place. Different demographics of people may require different resources, as there is not a universal model that applies to every community.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you have friends or family members who are skeptical about the vaccine?
  2. What is being done in your community to promote vaccination?
  3. Of these three ideas that aim to overcome vaccine skepticism, which do you think would be most effective?
  4. Are there any ideas not listed that you think would encourage people to get vaccinated?
  5. Should people have to get the vaccine before resuming certain activities, such as working in an office or going to school in person? Why or why not?
  6. On a scale of 1 to 5, how high a priority do you think this should be for the government?

As always, we encourage you to join the discussion with your comments or questions below!

Sources

Featured Image Credit: WHYY
[1] NPR: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/01/28/960901166/how-is-the-covid-19-vaccination-campaign-going-in-your-state
[2] Ibid.
[3] White House: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/03/11/remarks-by-president-biden-on-the-anniversary-of-the-covid-19-shutdown/
[4] New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/27/us/politics/coronavirus-vaccine-refusal-military.html?smid=url-share
[5] CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/09/covid-vaccine-60percent-of-nursing-home-staff-refused-shots-walgreens-exec-says.html
[6] NBC News: https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/sweeping-ad-campaign-will-encourage-vaccinations-rcna309
[7] The Hill: https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/prevention-cures/542507-1-in-4-americans-refuse-to-get-covid-19-vaccine
[8] New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/27/us/politics/coronavirus-vaccine-refusal-military.html?smid=url-share
[9] The Late Show with Stephen Colbert via YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iurgxEmPlnI
[10] CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/02/2020-election-polls-voters-approve-more-of-fauci-than-trump-on-coronavirus.html
[11] CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p0308-vaccinated-guidelines.html
[12] White House via YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf8uuTtd-eo
[13] Stat News: https://www.statnews.com/2020/09/10/trust-cdc-fauci-evaporating/
[14] CNN: https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/11/politics/former-presidents-vaccine-psa/index.html
[15] New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/01/opinion/nba-covid-vaccine-kareem-abdul-jabbar.html
[16] Dolly Parton via Twitter: https://twitter.com/DollyParton/status/1366866210852323328?s=20
[17] New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/01/opinion/nba-covid-vaccine-kareem-abdul-jabbar.html
[18] Ibid.
[19] New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/10/technology/vaccine-misinformation.html
[20] Ibid.
[21] NBC News: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/black-churches-become-indispensable-covid-19-vaccination-effort-rcna364

 

Restoring Confidence or Destroying Democracy? The Fight Over Access to the Ballot

The past several election cycles have seen high-stakes fights over access to the ballot and the rules that govern elections. In 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated provisions of the Voting Rights Act, thus making it easier for states to change their voting laws.1 In the years since, conservatives in Congress and in state legislatures have argued in favor of policies that tighten voter ID requirements and voting processes.

Since the 2020 election, lawmakers in state legislatures have introduced at least 165 proposals that would in some way restrict access to the ballot.2 In Georgia, for example, Republican lawmakers passed a bill that would “require a photo ID for absentee voting, limit the amount of time voters have to request an absentee ballot, restrict where ballot drop boxes could be located and when they could be accessed, and limit early voting hours on weekends, among many other changes.”3

FIND OUT: Are there new voting-related bills in your state? See the Brennan Center’s tracker.

The Georgia legislation does not state that it is intended to help Republicans, but critics of the bill point to data from the state’s 2020 Senate elections, showing that a disproportionate amount of Democratic voters used absentee ballots and that many Black voters cast their ballots on Sunday as part of “souls to the polls” campaigns.4 Critics also argue that voter ID laws discriminate against the poor, college students, the elderly, and people of color.5 Supporters, on the other hand, argue that voter ID provisions are a commonsense measure to ensure the integrity of voting and to prevent fraud.

What is Congress Doing?

While many states are considering new voting laws, there is also action taking place in Congress. The House of Representatives just passed HR 1, the For the People Act. If enacted, this bill would:

  • Require states to establish automatic voter registration systems and guarantee same-day voter registration, allowing individuals to register and vote on the day of an election.
  • Require at least 15 days of early voting for federal elections in every state, including weekend and evening voting.
  • Replace paperless voting machines and better track data and network breaches in an effort to improve election security.
  • Soften voter ID laws by allowing voters to sign a sworn affidavit instead of showing an ID.
  • Require states to offer no-excuse mail-in voting for all federal elections, including online ballot tracking, prepaid postage, and the option for voters to return their ballots at drop boxes or designate someone else to return their ballot (as long as the person is not being compensated).
  • Restore voting rights for all incarcerated people convicted of a crime once they’ve completed their sentence and been released from jail (37 states already automatically reinstate felons’ voting rights after release, parole, or probation; two states allow felons to keep the right to vote while in jail).

The bill also includes provisions governing gerrymandering, campaign finance, and ethics.6

WATCH: Rep. Colin Allred, D-Texas, argues for HR 1 – For the People Act

Although popular among Democrats in Congress, HR 1 is unlikely to pass the Senate without significant changes to address Republicans’ concerns. To address those concerns, Senator Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced the Save Democracy Act at the end of February. That bill would:

  • Mandate that voters show official ID whether voting in person or absentee.
  • Prohibit automatic voter registration in most cases.
  • Require a social security number and proof of citizenship to register to vote.
  • Require judges to inform election officials about any residents who recuse themselves from jury service on the basis of citizenship.
  • Put an end to universal mail-in voting, as practiced in states such as Oregon.7

“We have a crisis of faith in our electoral process, and maybe Congress’s most important job in 2021 is to restore that trust,” said Representative Jim Banks, R-Ind., arguing in favor of the Republican bill. “The Save Democracy Act is a way for Congress to go beyond reassurance and prove that our elections are secure. Americans know common-sense reforms like citizenship verification and poll-watchers will make our elections safer. Democrats’ election bill, H.R. 1, would do the opposite by banning things like signature verification for absentee ballots. The contrast between each party’s agenda has never been clearer.”8

The issue is complicated, and this is a particularly challenging time to work to address it. A February Associated Press poll showed that 65 percent of Republican voters do not believe the 2020 election was legitimate.9 Some elected Republican officials, including members of Congress, do not accept President Joe Biden’s victory as legitimate.10

Furthermore, many Democrats do not believe that Republicans are arguing in good faith. They point to past comments made by Republicans who acknowledged that their main goal was to suppress minority and youth turnout so they could win elections. For example, Mike Turzai, a Republican state legislator in Pennsylvania, said that the goal of a 2012 voter ID bill was to help “Governor Romney win the state of Pennsylvania.” Former Florida Republican Party chairman Jim Greer said, “The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates. It’s done for one reason and one reason only.” Consultants told him “we’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us. [This is not] a fraud issue. It’s all a marketing ploy.”11

In this atmosphere, where the two parties are accusing each other of making voting reforms that improve their own political fortunes, it is not clear that they will be able to reach an agreement on significant legislation—even though both parties agree that reform is needed.

Discussion Questions

  1. What have you heard about voter ID laws and election security?
  2. Do you believe that the U.S. election system should be reformed? If so, what changes do you think are needed?
  3. Which party’s vision of election reform do you most support?
  4. Is there a compromise you think the parties should reach?

As always, we encourage you to join the discussion with your comments or questions below!

Sources

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images
[1] New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/us/supreme-court-ruling.html
[2] Axios: https://www.axios.com/state-voter-suppression-proposals-5ee31df3-8e98-4bf5-8910-7bc6db704f15.html
[3] Associated Press: https://apnews.com/article/senate-elections-bills-legislation-elections-georgia-842d9ad16a78901322f4b952f6c0d8dd
[4] Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/02/24/new-georgia-legislation-would-curb-souls-polls/
[5] American Civil Liberties Union: https://www.aclu.org/other/oppose-voter-id-legislation-fact-sheet
[6] League of Women Voters: https://my.lwv.org/california/diablo-valley/article/summary-hr-1-people-act; Brennan Center for Justice: https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/policy-solutions/annotated-guide-people-act-2021#t1-si; Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/us-house-passes-hr-1-democracy-reform-voting-rights-package-2021-3
[7] Fox News: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/gop-led-save-democracy-act-aims-eliminate-security-concerns-plagued-2020-election
[8] Senator Rick Scott’s Official Website: https://www.rickscott.senate.gov/sen-rick-scott-colleagues-introduce-save-democracy-act-restore-confidence-our-elections
[9] MarketWatch: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/poll-finds-65-of-republicans-say-they-dont-believe-bidens-election-was-legitimate-01612570478
[10] Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/politics/congress-republicans-trump-election-claims/
[11] New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/17/us/some-republicans-acknowledge-leveraging-voter-id-laws-for-political-gain.html

 

Addressing Economic Inequality: Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax Proposal

During her 2020 presidential bid, Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., put forward a tax on the wealthiest Americans—a so-called ultra-millionaire tax—as one of her central proposals.1 And on March 1, 2021, Warren introduced the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act, which would “create an annual tax of 2 percent on the net worth of households and trusts between $50 million and $1 billion and a tax of 3 percent on net worth above $1 billion. The rate for net worth above $1 billion would increase to 6 percent if a ‘Medicare for All’ health care plan is enacted.”2

WATCH: Warren Argues for a Wealth Tax during a Democratic Primary Debate

A wealth tax would be a new form of taxation in the United States. The federal government currently taxes income, which is the money that people earn each year from their jobs and investments. Many states tax the value of a person’s real estate, which is a form of a wealth tax, but there is no current tax on wealth. Other countries have implemented wealth taxes in the past,3 and the state of California is currently considering a wealth tax as well.4 Warren’s proposal targets the wealthiest Americans, likely impacting roughly 100,000 families, meaning that 99.9992 percent of Americans would not be taxed.5

READ: “The Wealth Tax is Going Global,” from Bloomberg News

Arguments for the Wealth Tax

  • Projections suggest that the wealth tax could raise significant government revenue, as much as $3 trillion over ten years, allowing the government to fund programs aimed at reducing poverty.
  • “A wealth tax is popular among voters on both sides for good reason: because they understand the system is rigged to benefit the wealthy and large corporations,” said Warren. “As Congress develops additional plans to help our economy, the wealth tax should be at the top of the list to help pay for these plans because of the huge amounts of revenue it would generate.”6
  • “The Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act will help level the playing field, narrow the racial wealth gap, ensure the wealthiest finally begin to pay their fair share, and invest trillions of dollars into our communities so we can make a real difference in the lives of people across America,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who introduced the same bill in the House of Representatives.7
  • “As working families struggle to put food on the table, keep the heat on, and pay the rent during this devastating economic crisis that has caused the poverty rate to jump by the largest amount in at least 60 years, the rich have only gotten richer and the wealth of billionaires has jumped by 40%,” said Jayapal.8

Arguments Against the Wealth Tax

  • The Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, argues in an issue brief that wealth taxes are inefficient and ineffective, as wealth is difficult to measure and can be effectively hidden through accounting strategies.9
  • Over the past several decades, 12 European nations have experimented with wealth taxes. But nine of those countries abandoned the tax because it was expensive to enforce, it encouraged wealthy people (who invest in businesses and help create jobs) to leave the country or move their money, and it did not raise much revenue.10
  • Some economists argue that a wealth tax is harmful to the economy because it slows economic growth, it changes the investment and purchasing patterns of the wealthy, and it discourages saving. This leads to less investment in new business ventures and innovation, thus slowing job creation and harming everyday Americans.11
  • Other opponents believe that a wealth tax does little more than punish success and stoke class warfare. They argue that the government does not have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem that it must rein in.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you believe wealth inequality is a problem in the United States? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think the federal government should take steps to reduce wealth inequality? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think a wealth tax is a good or bad proposal?
  4. If you were writing a letter to your representative or one of your senators, how would you urge them to vote? What would you say to convince them?

For a more detailed discussion of a wealth tax, read our Controversial Issue in the News on the proposal.

Learn More

  • READ: The Ultra-Millionaire Tax, from Warren’s campaign website
  • LISTEN: “Could a Wealth Tax Work?” from NPR’s Planet Money
  • READ: “Estimating the Economic Impact of a Wealth Tax,” from the Brookings Institution
  • WATCH: Larry Kudlow, the former top economic adviser to President Donald Trump, weighs in on Warren’s proposed tax, from Fox Business
  • LISTEN: “The Wealth Tax Debate,” from Forbes
  • READ: “Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax on the Super-Rich is the Wrong Solution to the Right Problem,” from Time

As always, we encourage you to join the discussion with your comments or questions below!

Sources

Featured Image Credit: Greg Nash; Pool/Getty Images
[1] NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/12/05/782135614/how-would-a-wealth-tax-work
[2] The Hill: https://thehill.com/policy/finance/540968-warren-offers-bill-to-create-wealth-tax-on-net-worth-above-50-million?rl=1
[3] The Tax Foundation: https://taxfoundation.org/wealth-taxes-in-the-oecd/
[4] Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2020/08/17/california-proposes-168-income-tax-rate-plus-4-wealth-tax/?sh=43ed431d19a6
[5] CNN: https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/01/politics/elizabeth-warren-wealth-tax/index.html
[6] Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/elizabeth-warren-introduces-wealth-tax-bill-for-incomes-over-50m-2021-3
[8] The Hill: https://thehill.com/policy/finance/540968-warren-offers-bill-to-create-wealth-tax-on-net-worth-above-50-million?rl=1
[8] Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/elizabeth-warren-introduces-wealth-tax-bill-for-incomes-over-50m-2021-3
[9] The Manhattan Institute: https://www.manhattan-institute.org/whats-wrong-with-a-wealth-tax
[10] NPR: https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2019/02/26/698057356/if-a-wealth-tax-is-such-a-good-idea-why-did-europe-kill-theirs
[11] The Manhattan Institute: https://www.manhattan-institute.org/whats-wrong-with-a-wealth-tax