WASHINGTON, DC: Oxfam says America’s 735 billionaires are now worth US$4.7 trillion* – a 62 percent increase since 2020.
During WWII, the top federal income tax rate peaked at 94 percent and remained at 70 percent three decades later. Taxes on the rich have steadily declined since the Reagan administration.
The average American now pays a 13 percent tax rate while the nation’s top billionaires have paid rates as low as 3.4 percent, according to the Oxfam analysis.
Oxfam America, part of a confederation of 21 aid organisations worldwide, says a series of tax proposals—including Senator Warren’s wealth tax on billionaires, Senator Wyden’s billionaire income tax, and a global minimum corporate tax—would produce annual revenue of US$252 billion.
“The billionaire wealth explosion in this country comes at a time of historic inflation hitting working families, compounded by the expiration of critical social safety nets put in place at the start of the pandemic to protect America’s most vulnerable,” commented Gina Cummings, vice president of Advocacy Alliances and Policy. “The impact on real people is devastating, leading countless families to slip into poverty. The ongoing failure of our nation’s leaders to implement a more equitable tax system is a stain on democracy.”
Oxfam calculates Senator Warren's wealth tax would raise approximately US$113 billion in 2022 - enough to invest in the now expired extended Child Tax Credit (US$97 billion); making child care affordable for families with children from birth through aged five (US$24 billion); and reinstating expired child nutrition waivers to provide free food to children through schools, local government agencies and nonprofits (US$11 billion).
The proposed 15 percent global minimum corporate tax would yield US$63 billion a year while reducing the abuse of tax havens. Last year the Biden administration negotiated an international agreement to ensure that all large multinational companies pay the rate in countries where they operate.
Congress has yet to make it US law.
Oxfam says the money could allow the US to invest in climate finance, including tax credits for clean energy (US$11.4 billion), and cut carbon emissions with tax credits for consumers and companies (US$32 billion). The tax could also fund critical public health needs including global COVID health needs (US$5 billion), covering the uninsured for COVID vaccines and testing (US$1.5 billion), expanding Medicare for hearing (US$8.9 billion), and closing the Medicaid gap (US$6 billion).
“We reject the narrative that this country cannot afford to invest in a better world: protect the planet, feed hungry children, ensure child care costs do not wipe out a family’s earnings, [and] guarantee that hourly workers receive paid leave for illness or the birth of a child,” added Cummings.
*Based on recently released Forbes data.
Story Type: News
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