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Policy wonks have a soft spot for bold ideas. Doubly so if those ideas are new or making a comeback after years in the wilderness. The New York Times columnist David Leonhardt recently heaped much praise on presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren for her “bold” and “ambitious” agenda that’s appropriate “to the scale of our challenges.”
Voters are no different. Plenty of folks on the left seem giddy about the idea of a “Green New Deal” that would put the US economy on a war footing against climate change. And it’s not just Democrats and progressives. Many on the right fondly recall how Ronald Reagan in the 1970s said Republicans should raise ”a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors.”
But at some point, bold ideas will collide with boring reality. And the sooner bold ideas are subjected to a reality check the better. Let’s take one of Warren’s biggest and boldest ideas, a wealth tax. It’s a nearly $3 trillion plan involving a two-percent annual tax on wealth over $50 million plus an additional one percent on wealth above $1 billion. She says her plan would raise $2.75 trillion over ten years. Definitely big and bold.