The Intelligence Briefing: Wealth Redistribution

In a few days, we’ll debate the motion “It’s Time to Redistribute the Wealth” in our inaugural episode of “That’s Debatable” presented by Bloomberg and Open to Debate. It’s the first debate to include global audience analysis powered by artificial intelligence. And in this edition of our newsletter, we tell you all about it.

Here’s what we have in store:

     – That’s Debatable: Is it Time to Redistribute the Wealth?
     – Intelligraphic: Watson
     – Double Digits: 2,825
     – Points of View: Insights and analysis from past debaters

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Two perspectives on one of the nation’s biggest debates this week.

Is it Time to Redistribute Wealth?

Income inequality has reached historic highs. And for some, including politicians like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, this means governments around the world must act to redistribute wealth. A cornerstone of this idea is the proposed wealth tax, which has sparked contentious debate in the United States and abroad. But just what would a modern wealth tax look like? And should we embrace it? Two of our upcoming debaters – Robert Reich and Larry Summers – both served in the Clinton administration but take starkly different positions on the wealth tax and America’s economic future. You’ll be able to watch the full debate on October 9th on Bloomberg. Until then, read up on the arguments here:

For: Why we need a wealth tax

“According to estimates, this tax would generate 2.75 trillion dollars over the next decade, which could be used for health care, education, infrastructure, and everything else we need. Not only would a wealth tax raise revenue and help bring the economy back into balance, but it would also protect our democracy by reducing the influence of the super-rich on our political system.”
– Salon | Robert Reich

Against: A ‘wealth tax’ presents a revenue estimation puzzle

“And comprehensive wealth-tax collection has not been accomplished in even the most egalitarian European societies — which have moved away in droves from far less ambitious wealth taxes. Such a push in the United States would involve forcing the sale of many family-owned businesses and require vast audit resources at a time when the IRS is unable to audit even 10 percent of millionaires.”
– The Washington Post | Lawrence H. Summers and Natasha Sarin


Do you think it’s time to redistribute the wealth? Whether you’re “for,” “against,” or “undecided” on the motion, we want to hear from you! Join the thousands of people who have already weighed in on this debate by submitting your argument here. Then, during our event, IBM Watson will deliver an analysis of the public opinion this topic fueled, in part, by your submission. More on that below.

Facebook Boycott

When one number tells two stories.

The number of global billionaires in 2019
In 2019, there were an estimated 2,825 individual billionaires in the world. Of those, 788 were in the United States. What does the modern global billionaire class mean for the economy and politics today?
– Abolish Billionaires – New York Times | Farhad Manjoo
– Don’t Abolish Billionaires– New York Times | Will Wilkinson


Top insights and news from the intellectual leaders
who have battled it out on the Open to Debate stage.

– Constitutional scholar Jeffrey Rosen joins NPR to discuss Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legal legacy. [Read more via NPR, Jeffrey’s debate on surveilance.]

– Should the Trump administration’s recent peacemaking effort in the middle east be considered a triumph? Bret Stephens argues yes. [Read more via New York Times, Bret’s debate on Zionism.]

Yousef Munayyer disagrees, contending that this proposal simply continues to treat Palestinians as second-class citizens. [Read more via CNN, Yousef’s debate on Zionism.]

– With investment bankers leading the charge to bring workers back to the office, Megan McArdle argues corporate culture remains unchanged by the coronavirus. [Read more via Washinton Post, Megan’s debate on Obamacare.]

– With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s departure, how will Japan balance its relationships with the U.S. and China? Minxin Pei dives in. [Read more via Project Syndicate, Minxin’s debate on China.]

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