Why Yes, We Would Like Bezos, Musk, Gates, Et Al. To Make A Tasty Trillionaire Souffle!
As Yr Wonkette noted earlier this week, Elizabeth Warren has taken her popular call for an eat-the-super-rich tax from her presidential campaign and introduced it in the US Senate, because there's a lot of things in this country that need fixing and a lot of very wealthy people who aren't paying their fair share. Or rather, not a whole lot of extremely very wealthy people, who have managed to not pay anywhere near their fair share.
Warren's "Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act" would only tax the roughly 100,000 richest people in the USA, imposing a two percent tax on fortunes of over $50 million, and adding an extra penny per dollar on accumulated wealth over a billion dollars. As Robyn pointed out the other day,
This is not a lot of money for them, about $20,000 for every million after their first fifty million. (Or a whole twenty million dollar tax on a BILLION DOLLARS, which fairly raises the question, could a billionaire even live on $980 million?) But it would raise about three trillion dollars in the next decade, and that could do a hell of a lot for the rest of us.
So how much money are we talking about for particular super-rich people? As Business Insider reports, a couple of tax equity nonprofits, Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies Project on Inequality, have run some numbers, and the answer is One Metric Fuckton, even during the pandemic and economic meltdown, which has sucked for average people but during which the super-rich have seen obscene wealth growth. Based on data from Forbes, the groups estimate that America's roughly 650 billionaires alone have seen their wealth increase by about 44 percent since March 2020, when the world went (deeper) into the economic equality shitter. Together, they alone are worth some $4.2 trillion.
Here, have a couple f'rinstances:
Based on the wealth of American billionaires at the end of 2020, over a decade the wealth tax on them alone would fund about three-quarters of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, the two groups said.
And about a third of the wealth tax would be paid by the 15 richest Americans, who combined have a fortune of more than $2.1 trillion, the groups said.
So how about four of America's richest robber barrons? The groups estimated how much wealth tax would be paid annually under Warren's proposal by "retiring" Amazon head Jeff Bezos, rocket and electric car asshole Elon Musk, Microsoft founder and former CEO Bill Gates, and Facebook weirdo Mark Zuckerberg. It is: A LOT.
Bezos, with an estimated fortune of $191.2 billion, would have paid $5.7 billion in wealth taxes for 2020. Business insider notes that under a state wealth tax proposed by legislators in Washington, he would have been subject to about $2 billion in extra taxes there, too. How ever could he survive on the remaining $183 billion? Poor lad.
Musk, whose giant Scrooge McDuck money pit Forbes estimates holds $153.5 billion, would have paid $4.6 billion to Elizabeth Warren, which she would use to give everyone an Aunt Bee to look after the kids. The article notes that Musk has really done well during the pandemic, since his "wealth increased more than sixfold in 10 months, per Forbes data."
Gates, with a fortune of $120 billion, would have been on the hook for $3.6 billion in wealth taxes, which could fund green infrastructure and maybe keep him from injecting microchips into Fox News viewers. For that reason alone, you'd think they'd get behind a wealth tax.
As for Zuckerberg, his $99.9 billion wad of cash built on spreading fake news about antifa super soldiers and Hillary Clinton's habit of eating children's faces would have meant a wealth tax bill of about $3 billion, which would certainly help pay for a lot of hospital bills.
Mind you, unlike Warren and many other top Democrats, Joe Biden hasn't expressed any interest in a wealth tax, so all that money is likely to be safe in the hands of the plutocrats for a while longer. But Warren's proposal has consistently polled well, even among Republican voters, and if the vast wealth gap between the very richest and average Americans continues expanding in our K-shaped recovery, it's entirely possible that in a few years, some version of it may come to pass, if only to prevent the torches and pitchforks alternative.
[Business Insider / Americans for Tax Fairness-Institute for Policy Studies / Photo: Romain, Creative Commons license 2.0]
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.