Ocasio-Cortez says 70% ultra-rich tax could pay for climate plan

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Progressive House Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for a sharp tax hike on the highest incomes in order to fund a massive “Green New Deal” plan that would phase out fossil fuels by 2030, as she tries to push the political debate to the left.

“It’s ambitious,” the New York Representative told 60 Minutes in an interview scheduled to air Sunday. “It’s going to require a lot of rapid change that we don’t even conceive as possible right now.”

Asked how high taxes should be set, Ocasio-Cortez didn’t specify a figure but offered praise for policies in the past that set top marginal rates as high as 70 percent. The current top income tax rate is 37 percent.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

“Once you get to, like, the tippy tops — on your 10 millionth dollar — sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent,” she said. “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.”

Newly sworn in Thursday, the 29-year-old Democratic socialist is part of a new and diverse generation of progressives advocating for far-reaching proposals to mitigate climate change and income inequality. She has quickly become a favorite target of Republicans for her combative and unapologetic advocacy for liberal causes on social media.

“This all begs the question: What really are the top priorities for House Democrats — and does their caucus support a 70 percent income tax?” Chris Martin, a spokesman for the House Republican conference, said in an email to reporters.

Income tax hikes are dead on arrival while Republicans control the Senate and White House. Such a steep increase also isn’t likely to find much support among many congressional Democrats.

“Call me a radical,” Ocasio-Cortez said in the 60 Minutes interview, arguing that Abraham Lincoln’s push to end slavery and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s creation of Social Security were also radical ideas at the time.

Bloomberg News

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