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In an interview with Axios' Mike Allen for "Axios on HBO," economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, who helped guide Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren's 2020 wealth tax plan, said America has entered a new Gilded Age.

The big picture: Warren's "ultra-millionaire tax" is one of the most progressive tax plans on the Democratic market. It aims to adjust rates so that the rich are not paying less, proportionately, in taxes than the wealthy. Opponents of the plan argue it would de-incentivize investments and stifle economic growth.

  • A paper released by Saez and Zucman in September analyzed how the plan would have affected the 15 wealthiest Americans' fortunes if it was in place since 1982. It found that subjects' net worth could have decreased by more than half.

What they're saying: "You look at the numbers and it's very similar to the Gilded Age... Taxation was very regressive during the Gilded Age," Zucman said.

  • Saez also argued America is facing new monopolies: "The equivalent of the Gilded Age today, are the Microsofts, the Apples, the Amazons — incredible companies that really transform the world, but you can see that they really monopolize things because everybody goes, you know, to the same provider and that dominates, entirely, the market."

Go deeper: Elizabeth Warren: What to know about the 2020 candidate's wealth tax proposal

Go deeper

Biden says Russia likely to invade Ukraine

President Biden addressed the brewing conflict between Russia and Ukraine during a press briefing Wednesday, saying of Russian President Vladimir Putin, "my guess is he will move in."

Why it matters: U.S. officials have issued a series of warnings about Russia's threatening military buildup on the border with Ukraine, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying in Kyiv earlier Wednesday that Russia could invade "on very short notice."

Biden challenges GOP agenda: "What are Republicans for?"

President Biden pushed back against Republican efforts to obstruct his agenda during a press conference Wednesday, asking "What are Republicans for?"

Why it matters: Biden's speech comes as he approaches one year in office, facing low polling numbers and a stalled agenda.

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Biden’s face mask campaign requires more imports from China

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

American mask manufacturers are getting whiplash, having gone from sleepy sector to mission-critical industry overnight — only to see sales collapse before now being suddenly in demand again.

Why it matters: As the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 rages, health experts now say Americans need legitimate N95 or KN95 masks to best protect themselves — not widely available fakes or less effective cloth masks.

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