Mnuchin: Taxing Billionaires Could Have ‘Unintended Consequences’

Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he opposed the Democrats’ new plan to tax billionaires to help pay for their massive social spending bill, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

Mnuchin was asked about the progressives’ tax proposal while at an investment conference in Saudi Arabia.

“I’m generally in favor of simplifying the tax system and making sure the appropriate taxes are collected,” Mnuchin said, Bloomberg reported. “But when you talk about targeting one segment of the population in a very specific way, I worry about the unintended consequences.”

Senate Democrats on Wednesday unveiled a new billionaires’ tax proposal, an entirely new entry in the tax code designed to help pay for President Joe Biden’s sweeping domestic policy package.

The proposed tax would hit people who for three consecutive years have had assets worth at least $1 billion or have earned at least $100 million.

Mnuchin, Treasury secretary under former President Donald Trump, said the tax likely wouldn’t pull in as much money as proponents insist.

“My guess is a lot of these fortunes will be transferred to foundations and charities,” he said, Bloomberg reported. “I guess you’ll accelerate that process, so you probably won’t collect as much revenue, but we’ll see. So no, I don’t support any tax increases.”

U.S. billionaires Ray Dalio and Larry Fink, both of whom also attended the conference in Riyadh, said they were open to paying more tax — if the money was put to better use.

Mnuchin, in a separate interview with Bloomberg Television, said inflation remained a big concern. He added that inflation probably will stabilize at 3.5% despite it currently being near 4% to 5%.

“That’s still a significant issue,” Mnuchin told Bloomberg. “Given the enormous amount of fiscal and monetary support, I am very concerned that we are going to see higher interest rates and the impact on consumers.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that the U.S. was not losing control of inflation, and that she expected inflation levels to return to normal by the second half of next year.

Mnuchin, 58, recently returned to investing following his time at Treasury. Bloomberg reported that his Liberty Strategic Capital had raised about $2.5 billion — mostly from Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East — for private equity.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this story.

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