ROCK HILL, S.C. ― Democratic presidential hopeful and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke said he would support taxing the wealth of the country’s super-rich following a campaign stop in South Carolina on Friday, embracing a proposal first unveiled by fellow presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
“I think fundamental to this experiment of America and democracy is ensuring we don’t have princes and princesses, kings and queens, a concentration of wealth and power and privilege, and that’s exactly what we have in this country right now,” O’Rourke told HuffPost when asked whether he would support a wealth tax.
“So both for reasons of generating the revenue that we need and reasons to achieve the political democracy by having an economic democracy, some part of that wealth that has been built up and continues to be built up and receives favorable preferential treatment in the tax code must be taxed for our common benefit,” he added.
Most Democrats support rolling back all or a portion of President Donald Trump’s tax cuts, but there is less agreement within the party about the notion of a direct tax on the super-rich. Billionaire and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is exploring a campaign for president as an independent, blasted the idea as “ridiculous.”
Warren’s proposal would levy a 2 percent tax on assets over $50 million and a 3 percent tax on assets over $1 billion, part of an ambitious slate of policy ideas she has proposed to curb economic inequality.
O’Rourke announced his campaign for president earlier this month in a video to supporters. The former U.S. Senate candidate from Texas has been barnstorming the country at a breakneck pace, with an official campaign kickoff scheduled in El Paso, Texas, at the end of the month.
While he entered the race later than other candidates, he’s quickly endorsed some of their signature issues like the wealth tax, reforms to the structure of the Supreme Court and a proposal to give infants so-called baby bonds to address systemic inequalities.