WASHINGTON — Democrats' plan to tax billionaires excites the party's base. It could be attractive to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. And it might be unconstitutional. Party leaders have been scrambling to find alternative ways to pay for part of the trillion-dollar-plus "Build Back Better" bill because Sinema has ruled out raising income tax rates on high-end earners and corporations. A proposal under development is a tax on the paper investment gains of the ultra-wealthy. The idea is to capture revenue from billionaires whose assets — mostly stocks and real property — appreciate in value by $100 million each year without being taxed. Under current law, those gains aren't "realized" and taxed until the underlying assets are sold. An ally of Biden's, Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, has worked on a version of the wealth tax with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. He said in an interview Tuesday that it is easy for the government to tax all of the earned income of workers, while the country's wealthiest investors can simply earn value by holding on to untaxed investments. "That ends up being very unfair," he said, adding that he is confident that the plan would survive constitutional muster. Tax law experts disagree about whether such a provision would be consistent with the Constitution, but Daniel Hemel, a University of Chicago Law School professor, said Democrats would be taking their chances with a conservative Supreme Court. "This approach makes the Democrats' plan for taxing the wealthy contingent upon Brett Kavanaugh, and there are lots of constitutionally uncomplicated ways to tax the very rich," Hemel said. "But it seems like Democrats are coalescing around one of the approaches for which there are genuine constitutional doubts." Because the policy hasn't yet been agreed to — much less written into legislative text — it's impossible to know exactly how it will be worded. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., hasn't yet seen the text of the proposal, according to Punchbowl News. For those wondering about a deal coming together, ways and means chair @RepRichardNeal hasn’t even seen the text of the billionaires tax yet. He is the houses top tax writer. — Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) October 26, 2021 The question for tax writers and party leaders is whether they can thread both the political and the constitutional needles in drafting the details. Clear majorities of Americans favor taxing the rich more. In a Morning Consult/Politico poll last month, 68 percent of . . . read the full article here.