The 70% top tax rate, explained with potatoes The new US tax law, explained with cereal 2 days ago   03:47

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for a 70 percent top tax rate on the super rich.

Start by watching our explainer on the marginal tax rate:

While it might seem like a radical idea, it's actually based on an economic theory that tries to make everyone as well-off as possible.

How can we make all citizens as well-off as possible? That's the simple question behind something call "optimal tax theory." It starts from this idea that, to a rich person, one dollar is worth almost nothing. Take away the dollar and he'll be just as well off as he was before. But that dollar is worth a lot to poor people. So, if the government wants to optimize the well-being of its citizens, it should tax that money from the rich and give it to the poor. But at a certain point, we can't keep taxing the rich more. To find out why, watch this video. is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

Become a member of the Vox Video Lab!

Watch our full video catalog:
Follow Vox on Facebook:
Or Twitter:

Comments 4757 Comments

Hi! We've gotten some comments pointing out that this video should do more to explain marginal tax brackets. Agree that's support important, which is why we already made a video about it: Show this to anyone who says the government wants to tax people at 70% overall!
M Harvey
This is nothing new and we do this all over the world it’s called “progressive tax rate”. A 70% tax on the rich takes out the incentive for people to strive to a higher living standard. Not only that it’s a shot a capitalism and going to take America way closer to communism.. first off the more money the government has the more problems that come with that. Governments are already grossly inefficient in how they use the current taxes.. how about we try and learn to fix THAT first. 🙄
Kek iStan
This is not an optimal tax thoery, THIS IS THE SOVIET UNION
I may sound crazy, but you could also just let those who put many sleepless nights and dedication to improve their lives, those who decided the risk is worth it and created something that I am sure a lot of people thought was impossible and possibly even dumb, keep their money, which in most cases is the reason why they decided the risk is worth it. One of the major reasons why America is a great country is because of the ability to improve lives, its not easy, but I know many people who are considered “Rich” to everyone came from owning nothing, Also you are forgetting that the rich (Not all but a lot) gives their money to charities and people. Keep America a capitalist country, its not easy and everyone has different situations that makes it either easier or more difficult to earn more money, however everyone has the ability to make good money, just the risks can be scary, and depending on where someone may be in a financial state, it may seem stupid, but can we all not agree that those risks gets the blood pumping, gives us determination, and overall adds to the experience of life? Lets keep America the way it was intended to be by making it possible for anyone with a brain to become rich and not de-motivate them by making big taxes on big incomes. Keep in mind, if you are happy where you are, then be glad, but if you want more money, then think of different ways you could earn money, the internet has introduced so many new ways of earning passive income and on top of that, you will have more satisfaction in life knowing you worked harder and thought harder so you can earn more and enjoy life more. Thats just my .02 cents!
Brix Trix
'As well off as possible'
Er, no, not exactly
'Making sure the *government* is taking in as much money as is absolutely possible'
phemix wr5trttreterterterretrtr
but head over to communist Russia and get as many potatoes as every one in the country
Jerome Tan
bro if the poor farmer is poor why did he decide to have kids tf
Emile Zsak
If you tax the rich at rates as extortionate as 70%, they will move to a country with a fairer tax system. This way, the government won't receive any benefits, and there isn't the rich to create jobs and invest in the economy. Taxing the rich in this way is bad for the economy. Period.
This video makes no sense. Can't even understand your point. Taxes are based on percentages so you can't take the same 1 potatoe from rich and poor instead of a percent of what they grew. Also, more importantly, why are the farmers rich and poor. Is one working harder rhan the other. Thats usually the case and you should not be penalized for hard work. Everyone wants something for nothing. Society does not work that way.
Weijian Lim
They used Building Blocks or Clay to make the
(Nice try, Scene Maker)
None None
So in other words drive rich people away from the American markets. And start to invest in other countries, and to spend more money to find loopholes in the tax code. Here's a change a FLAT TAX. You made $100 last year? Give us $20. You made $200,000,000? Gives us $40,000,000.
J Sophie Thelen
Could you please cite the 2012 paper you mentioned? I remembered this video and wanted to show someone the research behind it but I can’t find it.
sp1nner Boi
Bruh that one potato from the rich guy isn’t 30%
This video is completely inaccurate. You should point out the different tax methods - flat amount (everyone pays the same amount in dollars), flat percent (everyone pays the same percentage), or progressive tax (the more you make, the larger the percent you pay). The US already has a HIGHLY PROGRESSIVE federal income tax system, where the rich pay the bulk of the taxes even though they are a minority, they pay a higher percentage of the tax bill than they make. What you are asking for with a 70% top marginal tax rate is an EVEN MORE PROGRESSIVE tax system where the rich pay EVEN MORE of the tax bill. Also - for those complaining that Warren Buffet pays a lower percentage than his secretary - that has NOTHING to with marginal rates, that is due to lower taxes on capital gains. Raising marginal rates will do nothing to change that. Marginal rates only screw people who earn a paycheck and have w2 earnings - generally not the millionaires and billionaires.
So wait, i thght the whole pt of this country was that i cld become insanely theres a penalty for achieving the american dream?? Like im all for the rich payin a fair share but a "fair" share!
Joshua Ferrill
It's cake the ladder curve
Dan Bam
I hate rich people!!!
Buys $8 avacado toast
Daníel Rafn
But in reality, the rich farmer will just hide his potatoes in offshore accounts if the government decides to take 70% or more of his share
Socialism anyone?
Add Reply

The new US tax law, explained with cereal The 70% top tax rate, explained with potatoes 2 days ago   03:09

We're a few Crunch Berries short, friends.

Subscribe to our channel! is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out to get up to speed on everything from Kurdistan to the Kim Kardashian app.

Check out our full video catalog:
Follow Vox on Twitter:
Or on Facebook:

There’s a new tax law in town. It passed without a single vote from Democrats in the House or the Senate, and it’s a huge windfall for the richest Americans, including President Donald Trump.

But Republicans didn’t just want any new tax law, they wanted to reform the tax code. To give the richest Americans a big tax cut while still funding the government’s essential functions, like building roads and flying fighter jets, the GOP needed to find tax revenue somewhere else. To do that, they had to start taxing income that used to be tax-free, by closing loopholes and eliminating deductions.

If all of that sounds boring and confusing, fear not. We’ve broken it down in this video. Just don’t blame us if it leaves you craving cereal.

Related Videos