If we were to build out a proper full-dress welfare state — including stuff like the People’s Policy Project’s Family Fun Pack, Medicare-for-All, a sizable boost to Social Security, unemployment, and disability benefits, free college tuition, and so forth, the vast majority of the upper-middle class would come out basically unharmed or money ahead. They would pay a lot more in taxes, but they would get a lot of quality benefits — stuff like childcare and college is a huge cost burden for this group. It is the top 1 percent, and especially the top 0.1 percent and up, who would really get taken to the cleaners.

Similarly, scooping up, say, half the wealth in the country into a social wealth fund, which would distribute its return on a per-capita basis, would leave most of the upper-middle class in fine shape. The top 1 percent owns about 40 percent of America’s wealth, and the next 4 percent (that is, those in the 95th to 99th percentile) another quarter. The bottom half of the upper-middle class, meanwhile, only owns about a tenth. Once more, the tippy-top would be the ones who would really pay.