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Mayor, South Bend, Ind.
“I strongly believe that the wealthy have an obligation to pay their fair, higher share. Raising taxes on the highest earning Americans is necessary to pay for the ambitious policy reforms that America needs, and this can be done without a return to the tax rates that were common a half century ago. I have discussed the need to substantially raise marginal tax rates on the highest earners. I have spoken about the need for a wealth tax and/or analogously high taxes on income from wealth — such as capital gains, dividends, and estate bequests — that raise large amounts of revenue by taxing capital gains and dividends of the wealthy, similar to how we tax their earned income.”Candidate positions highlighted
U.S. senator, Vermont
“To reduce the outrageous level of inequality that exists in America today and to rebuild the disappearing middle class, [Sanders] will tax the extreme wealth of the top 0.1 percent of U.S. households with a net worth of over $32 million which would raise an estimated $4.35 trillion over the next decade. The revenue would be used to fund [Sanders's] affordable housing plan, universal childcare and would help fund Medicare for All,” the Sanders campaign told The Post.Candidate positions highlighted
“Yes. Even before I was a candidate for president, I proposed a wealth tax,” Steyer told The Post. “My proposal would tax .01% on the top 1% of Americans, or about 175,000 families, who make more than $32 million. Under this proposal, they’ll pay a penny on every dollar above that level. No deductions, no exemptions, no loopholes. Over the next decade, those pennies could raise more than one trillion dollars for our schools, health care, retirement security, and more.”Candidate positions highlighted
U.S. senator, Massachusetts
“Yes. I introduced this back in January. My wealth tax is a 2-cent tax on every dollar of net worth above $50 million and 6 cents on each dollar of net worth above $1 billion,” Warren told The Post.Candidate positions highlighted
“Wealth in America is so concentrated, the “one-percenters” own 42 percent of the wealth, which is more than 90 percent of the people combined. This needs to change,” Williamson told The Post. “Currently an heir doesn’t pay any taxes until the inheritance reaches $22 million: I support restoring the estate tax on assets above $5.45 million per person, or about $11 million per couple. I would also enact a wealth tax of 2 percent on wealth over $50 million and 3 percent on wealth over $1 billion to help pay the bills.”Candidate positions highlighted
No, but adjust taxes on capital gains
No, but adjust taxes on capital gains
U.S. senator, Colorado
“Yes. First, taxes on wealth income shouldn’t be lower than taxes on work income, so I’d charge the same rates on capital gains as on wages. Second, I’d close the trust fund loophole and other ways the rich escape taxation. Third, I’d expand estate taxes on large inheritances. Lastly, I’d increase the top tax rate for high-income taxpayers. Combined, this would make our tax code more fair and raise $2 trillion+ to support working families,” Bennet told The Post. His campaign confirmed that he supports adjusting taxes on income from wealth.Candidate positions highlighted
Former vice president
“America was not built by Wall Street or CEOs — it was built by the middle class. Millionaires and billionaires should not be paying lower taxes than teachers or firefighters. That’s why I support proven policies that would raise billions by taxing the wealthiest Americans,” Biden told The Post. “These include closing the stepped-up basis loophole, raising the capital gains tax rate on millionaires, and reverting to the 2009 real estate tax rates and exemption levels. Combined, these policies would raise hundreds of billions in revenue so we can invest in health care, schools, climate, infrastructure and more.”Candidate positions highlighted
U.S. senator, New Jersey
“Making sure that the wealthy pay their fair share is an essential component to restoring economic justice to our tax code,” Booker told The Post. “We can start by implementing my plan to tax long-term capital gains and qualified dividends at the same rate as ordinary income through a “mark-to-market” framework, increasing individual tax rates, and raising rates and exemption levels for the estate tax.”Candidate positions highlighted
Former mayor, San Antonio
“Today, I’m proposing an ‘Inherited Wealth’ tax that ensures folks who receive income in the form of inheritance pay a fair share of taxes, like the rest of us. Income from capital gains and income from labor should be treated the same way: as income. That’s why I’m advocating that we raise the capital gains rate to match the marginal income tax rate for the wealthy,” Castro's working families plan said. “In my plan, I’m also supporting a ‘Wealth Inequality’ tax through mark-to-market system for the richest one-tenth of 1 percent that would tax their capital gains annually. Wealth inequality is a fundamental challenge to our economy, and we must address it. Under my plan, 99 percent of Americans would see their taxes go down or stay the same.”Candidate positions highlighted
Former U.S. representative, Maryland
“While I believe the wealthiest Americans should pay more in taxes, I don’t believe a wealth tax is the best approach as it’s likely unconstitutional and would be impossible to implement,” Delaney told The Post. “The best way to make sure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share is to increase capital gains tax rates and repeal the GOP tax cuts for high income earners, including reversing cuts made to the estate tax.”Candidate positions highlighted
Yang “doesn’t support a wealth tax. Many countries implemented a wealth tax and then repealed it because of serious implementation problems and shortfalls in the expected revenue generated,” his campaign told The Post. “Instead of repeating other countries’ mistakes, we should join the rest of the world’s advanced economies and implement a value-added tax. This type of tax has proven to be easier to implement and harder to avoid than a wealth tax.”Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock (Dropped out)
Bullock is no longer running for president. “We can and must do more to build a more progressive tax system that ensures all Americans pay their fair share. We can do that without pursuing a policy that many have pointed out is largely unenforceable,” Bullock told The Post. “As president, I’ll build a fair tax code by closing loopholes, raising corporate and capital gains tax rates, and restructuring tax brackets.”Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak (Dropped out)
Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania
Sestak is no longer running for president. Sestak does not support a tax on the assets held by the wealthiest Americans, he told The Post.Candidate positions highlighted
U.S. representative, Hawaii
Gabbard did not provide an answer to this question by publication.Candidate positions highlighted
U.S. senator, Minnesota
“It could work. I am open to it. But I want to give a reality check here to Elizabeth [Warren], because no one on this stage wants to protect billionaires. Not even the billionaire wants to protect billionaires,” Klobuchar said at the October Democratic debate. “We just have different approaches. Your idea is not the only idea.” Her campaign did not clarify her position by publication.Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala D. Harris (Dropped out)
U.S. senator, California
Harris is no longer running for president. Harris did not provide an answer to this question by publication.Candidate positions highlighted
With the stock market at an all-time high, the debate about wealth accumulation and inequality has become a top issue in the 2020 campaign. The growing hostilities between the ascendant populist wing of the Democratic Party and the nation’s tech and financial elite have spilled repeatedly into public view over the course of the primary campaign, but they reached a crescendo with news that billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, may enter the race.
The leaders of the populist surge, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (Vt.), have cast their plans to vastly increase taxes on the wealthy as necessary to fix several decades of widening inequality and make necessary investments in health care, child care spending and other government programs they say will help working-class Americans.
Where the candidates stand
Here’s where the candidates stand on economic policy, based on their statements, voting records and answers to a questionnaire that was sent to every campaign.
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Kevin Schaul, Michael Scherer, Heather Long and Jeff Stein contributed to this report.
How candidate positions were compiled
The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic presidential campaign asking whether it supports various changes to U.S. economic policy. Candidates with similar stances were organized into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role, and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town hall meetings and other news reports and surveys. See something we missed? Let us know.
We expect candidates to develop more detailed policy positions throughout the campaign, and this page will update as we learn more about their plans. We also will note if candidates change their position on an issue.
At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president before November and excluded any who had left the race. Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick announced a run just before publication. The Post is working to obtain his answers to these questions.
Recent changes on this page
Dec. 3 Harris dropped out of presidential race.
Dec. 2 Bullock dropped out of presidential race.
Dec. 1 Sestak dropped out of presidential race.
Nov. 20 Klobuchar's campaign clarified her corporate tax rate proposal.
Nov. 20 Steyer's campaign provided his answers to the survey. New information reflected here includes stances on universal basic income, length of paid family leave, a federal jobs guarantee, Federal Reserve interest rates, approach to national debt and a national rent control cap.
Nov. 18 Added Buttigieg's position on maintaining the standard deduction and the child tax credit increases from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Nov. 16 Clarified Buttigieg's support for a wealth tax, per a campaign spokesperson. Adjusted Sanders's position on a carbon tax, from 'Open to it' to 'No' following a change from his campaign.
Nov. 16 Adjusted Bennet's posiiton on a wealth tax after confirmation from his campaign.
Nov. 16 Page published.