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Calls to 'abolish billionaires' raise eyebrows, but they've been a long time coming

Calls to 'abolish billionaires' raise eyebrows, but they've been a long time coming
Alex Wong/Getty Images



A New York Times editorial titled "Abolish Billionaires" introduced many readers to an increasingly strong rallying cry on the American left.




Progressive politicians are calling for significantly increased taxes on the rich to counteract exceptionally high levels of wealth inequality in the US.




While there may be eyebrow-raising rhetoric around these policies, they aren't radical.




This article is part of Business Insider's ongoing series on "Better Capitalism."



For the first time on a large scale, Americans are debating whether to allow the existence of billionaires.
On Thursday, The New York Times published columnist Farhad Manjoo's "It's high time we abolish billionaires" above the fold on the front page of its print edition. While Manjoo is far from the first person to articulate the idea — see freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's call for a 70% tax rate for income above $10 million or Sen. Elizabeth Warren's call for a 3% wealth tax for fortunes above $1 billion — the unequivocal rallying cry was something different for the paper of record.
The ensuing arguments about his piece were about what you'd expect: ad hominem attacks and the pitting of capitalism against socialism. A Fox News panel called Manjoo "an idiot" and dismissed the critique of inequality as an attack on capitalism. Readers raised examples of "good billionaires."
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