Buttigieg attacks Warren's wealth tax proposal as 'extreme'

Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegFive takeaways from the Democratic debate Buttigieg, Warren square off on donors at Democratic debate All female candidates pick ‘forgiveness,’ men pick ‘a gift’ when asked to choose at debate MORE went after Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate Buttigieg, Warren square off on donors at Democratic debate All female candidates pick ‘forgiveness,’ men pick ‘a gift’ when asked to choose at debate MORE’s (D-Mass.) signature wealth tax proposal at Thursday’s debate, calling it “extreme.”

“We’re being offered a false choice: You either go all the way to the extreme, or it’s business as usual,” the South Bend, Ind., mayor said in response to a question about Warren’s plan.

“Yes, taxes on individuals and on corporations are going to have to go up. We can also be smart about the promises we’re making, make sure they’re promises we can keep without the kind of taxation economists tell us would hurt the economy,” he added.

His comments mark the latest sparring between the two White House hopefuls, with Buttigieg appealing to moderate Democrats and Warren vying for the party’s progressive wing.

Warren has proposed taxing individuals with assets more than $50 million at 2 percent a year and taxing those with assets exceeding $1 billion at 6 percent a year in order to pay for a slew of progressive proposals, including “Medicare for All.”

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Moderator Judy Woodruff of PBS NewsHour on Thursday asked Warren for her response to economists who estimate that $8 trillion worth of taxes on the rich — “the biggest tax increase since World War II” — would lead to slower growth.

“Oh, they’re just wrong,” Warren said, prompting applause from the audience in Los Angeles.

Warren argued that economists were not taking into account the positive repercussions of where the wealth tax revenue would be spent. Free child care, she argued, would allow parents to study and work more, and forgiving student debt would free the middle class to spend and invest in a way that would stimulate the economy.

“Think about the economic impact of that,” she said.

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