I am Bezos, billionaire and international diaper tycoon. Don't you dare tax me because you wouldn't be able to shop online without me.

The earlier quote was in context of a wealth tax and no, not everyone here is on board with that.

Clearly I make a mistake by mentioning how much they make instead of their wealth. Mea culpa.

Don’t apologize, it is more sensible to tax their income after all.

Like others have asked, if you don’t want to use income, then how are you going to determine what someone is worth?

Okay, so folks here are in for estate, income, and capital gains taxes, but not a general “wealth” tax as mentioned above. I don’t get it. Wealth of a variety of forms is taxed here.

Your question (“You genuinely believe these people are worth what they are?”) implies that you’re measuring “worth” by some other measure than money. But if you’re using money to value what someone is worth, then your question is pointless because it’s tautologically true. “You genuinely believe someone who makes X dollars is worth X dollars?” Well yeah, because you just said that’s how you define “worth”.

No, I’m literally saying Bezos isn’t worth 112.1 billion dollars. He doesn’t deserve that much money, or even the percentage ownership of his companies that makes him worth that much. I would have done a spit-take if I had been drinking because I thought he was worth 10 percent of what he was.

Our system of evaluation is so out of whack that it has allowed this to happen, and it needs to be corrected.

A billion dollars isn’t cool… you know what’s cool?

Every billionaire is a sign of a market failure.

Okay, so you’re NOT measuring “worth” by how much money someone makes! So how ARE you measuring it? What metric are you using to determine that Bezos isn’t worth the amount of money he has?

And you claimed I was making a non sequitir by asking why the government should judge a person’s worth (“When did I say that there should be a Citizen’s Worth Committee?”), but now you seem just fine with determining what Bezos is or isn’t worth all on your own. And if you want the government to tax based on that, then it sounds like you ARE saying that the government should judge someone’s worth.

So which is it?

112 Billion is the kind of money that warps society around it. That’s an absurd level of power to give an individual in what’s ostensibly a democracy. I don’t understand why you’d have to defend wanting to curb that, any more than you’d have defend not letting people own nukes.

He’s not spending $112 billion in a day, in a year, or even in his lifetime. It’s value that exists solely on paper, not power that he’s leveraging. And if the amount of money he has (I’m not sure why you’re using “give” in this context) is somehow threatening democracy, then maybe we should change the laws about how money is used, instead of trying to take that money away.

False dichotomy.

There isn’t going to be a department or committee in our government that determines a person’s worth. You’re trying to trick me into saying I approve Death Panels.

It is possible for our government to craft a better tax code or look at antitrust, or something. I don’t have the answers here; I’m not a financial expert. But if we don’t do something, our wealth disparity is only going to get worse.

The answer definitely isn’t “we can’t do anything, so why try?”

But you know for a fact that Jeff Bezos isn’t 112.1 billion dollars.

I’m not trying to trick you into saying anything. But you’re claiming that you know what Jeff Bezos is worth (or at least what he’s NOT worth), and when I ask you how you know that, your response is “I don’t have the answers here; I’m not a financial expert.” If you don’t even believe what you just said, then how do you know that it’s possible for the government to “craft a better tax code or look at antitrust, or something”?

It seems like you just feel like $112 billion is way too much money, for reasons you can’t articulate.

Now THERE’S a false dichotomy!

But he *can’, if he wants to. Him merely having it alters how people behave. In this very thread people are arguing that you can’t alter the tax code because what if it pisses off the guys with all that economic power.

“How hard they work” makes it sound like its a voluntary thing. Amazon warehouse workers aren’t peeing in bottles or overworking themselves to the point of triggering miscarriages because they’re so fucking devoted to Amazon.

And it absolutely should be mentioned when it comes to how Bezos got his money. Ruthless exploitation of their workforce is part and parcel of how Amazon operates.

No, he really can’t. Again, there are laws about how quickly or easily a person could cash out their stock in a company…and planning to cash out $112 billion worth of stock would almost definitely drop the price of that stock by a significant amount, even before he could actually act on that. There is no way Bezos ends up with $112 billion in cash overnight, if at all.

And claiming “it alters how people behave because people are arguing you can’t alter the tax code” assumes that if Bezos had less money, people would be acting differently. And for me (and I’m sure other people here), I disagree with the idea of a wealth tax (for example) whether the person has $100 or $10,000 or $1 million or $112 billion. The amount of money involved isn’t “altering” my behavior.

They leveraged a labor system and environment that allowed them to keep all the benefits of success for themselves and share none of them with labor.

Really, most people are saying he should be taxed because extreme wealth is itself bad, regardless of the individual merits of the wealthy.

Some people are saying that some billionaires are special; that they are supermen, unique and irreplaceable, and that taxing their wealth will cause very bad things to happen. It’s really not that clear what those bad things are. Amazon won’t disappear if we tax Bezos 2% (or 6%) of his wealth. Not even Bezos will disappear: it will cost him far more to try to exit the US than the tax would cost him.

The argument that he isn’t so special is an argument against the claim that he is. Nobody woke up this morning and said I think I’ll go on the Internet and argue that anyone could have done what Bezos did. We aren’t saying he isn’t different. We’re saying 1) it wasn’t all him, and 2) someone else would have done it if he hadn’t, and 3) he is going to die one day after all, and Amazon won’t disappear when he does.

This is a good idea. Now, go convince conservatives that money isn’t speech, then maybe we can actually do it. Otherwise, this is not going to happen, and we are back to taxing it.

A million times this. We long ago decided that it was just and proper to tax wealth, as long as it wasn’t extreme wealth, just housing wealth. Every argument you make against taxing billionaire wealth applies to property taxes: it is our house, and we bought it / built it ourselves, and the property tax obligation might force us to sell the house to pay the taxes, and how can that be fair?

Only, this turns out not to be the case.

From a philosophical perspective the idea of the right to the peaceful enjoyment of ones own possessions is fundamental to the ethos of liberal democratic capitalism.

But the system isn’t designed to give everyone what they “deserve”. It’s designed to provide the right incentives, and (in a sensible system, which the US does not have) make sure noone is too badly off.

Hah! I think the suprising lesson of the last 40 years is that vast enterprises within oligopolies can (not always, but often) deliver excellent products on wafer thin margins despte conventional theory telling us that this situation is ripe for market failure.

Money is not power. Power is power.

Threaten to take half of what someone has, every 10 years, and maybe they will try and claim more real power. Is that what you want?

Still…property taxes.