In Support of a Wealth Tax


This post is by Continuations by Albert Wenger from Continuations by Albert Wenger


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Senator Elizabeth Warren yesterday proposed a wealth tax. It is a way of dealing with the rising inequality issue that I also discuss in World After Capital. I propose a longer term way of getting to a similar place via demurrage, but I am supportive of a wealth tax. I believe it will have to be broad based though and include all large accumulations of wealth, including in trusts, foundations, endowments and all other pools that don’t have clear existing offsetting obligations (such as pension funds). The reason to go broad on a wealth tax is that all of these accumulations of wealth contribute not just to inequality but also to a large power imbalance, including large foundations influencing education and healthcare policy outside of the democratic process. Independent of where this proposal ultimately goes, I am glad that we finally have candidates willing to propose bold new ideas (this Continue reading “In Support of a Wealth Tax”

In Support of a Wealth Tax


This post is by Continuations by Albert Wenger from Continuations by Albert Wenger


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Senator Elizabeth Warren yesterday proposed a wealth tax. It is a way of dealing with the rising inequality issue that I also discuss in World After Capital. I propose a longer term way of getting to a similar place via demurrage, but I am supportive of a wealth tax. I believe it will have to be broad based though and include all large accumulations of wealth, including in trusts, foundations, endowments and all other pools that don’t have clear existing offsetting obligations (such as pension funds). The reason to go broad on a wealth tax is that all of these accumulations of wealth contribute not just to inequality but also to a large power imbalance, including large foundations influencing education and healthcare policy outside of the democratic process. Independent of where this proposal ultimately goes, I am glad that we finally have candidates willing to propose bold new ideas (this Continue reading “In Support of a Wealth Tax”

Call Your Senators to Preserve Equity Compensation for Startups


This post is by Continuations by Albert Wenger from Continuations by Albert Wenger


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The latest Senate version of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” has a stab in the eye for startups. It proposes to tax certain stock options and RSUs at the time of vesting. An earlier House version also contained this provision, but the House removed it. 

Startups are a key part of innovation. Often joining a startup means accepting a lower cash compensation for a higher potential upside. This upside usually comes in the form of stock options or other stock based compensation such as restricted stock units (RSUs). For these to be effective means of offsetting lower current compensation, they need to provide upside with no downside.

In particular, an employee should not own taxes on the appreciation of the capital until they actually have liquidity in the asset. Everything else runs the risk of having to pay taxes on paper gains that subsequently evaporate. This problematic situation Continue reading “Call Your Senators to Preserve Equity Compensation for Startups”

Employee vs Contractor: The Role of Data and Getting Past the Distinction


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I have written in the past about how having richer information channels is letting us overcome various historic dichotomies. For instance we had to distinguish between private and public companies because disclosing information was costly. We relied entirely on the signaling of degrees, but now in many fields people can easily show their work directly. The worker-contractor distinction is similarly the result of not having enough realtime information sharing.

There was a time when the overhead of tracking every work hour was high and at that time it made sense to treat employees who normally work for one company for a long period of time differently from contractors who move around a lot. Today the cost of metering work is virtually zero. The same goes for paying taxes frequently as opposed to once a year or possibly quarterly.

Since there is no clear distinction between workers and contractors, we had Continue reading “Employee vs Contractor: The Role of Data and Getting Past the Distinction”