Posts

Group of Protestors

Millionaires Protest In Front Of Jeff Bezos’s Homes In Support Of Taxing The Rich 

A group of millionaires took to the streets this Monday to protest in front of properties owned by the richest man in the world, billionaire Jeff Bezos, in New York and Washington. 

The protest itself was organized by a group known as Patriotic Millionaires, which describe themselves as a “coalition of wealthy individuals who push for progressive policy changes.” The group planned to perform the protest on Tax Day (which was extended this year to land on May 17th) as a symbolic gesture, standing in solidarity with all the lower income Americans who filed and likely paid much more in taxes this year than Bezos and billionaires alike. 

Embed from Getty Images

The group also emphasized their support of Joe Biden’s tax plan which would raise taxes for Americans making more than $400,000 a year. The tax hike would help pay for the president’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal and $1.8 trillion American Families Plan. 

Patriotic Millionaires, whose members earn incomes of more than $1 million or have assets worth more than $5 million, protested in front of Bezos’s homes with billboards reading “Cut the bullshit. Tax the rich.”

“We’re ending up with a few rich people and a lot of poor people and that doesn’t work. That’s not a way you can run a sustainable society.” 

Morris Pearl is the chairman of the Patriotic Millionaires board, who explained how while Besox himself said he supported raising corporate tax rates, Amazon has had a long history of avoiding taxes. In fact, according to calculations by the progressive Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, “in 2020 Amazon only paid a 9.4% federal income tax rate, less than half the statutory 21%.

Embed from Getty Images

The Biden administration currently is proposing to increase corporate tax rates from 21% to 28%, which would also partially reverse cuts pushed by former president Donald Trump. Until Trump and Republicans in Congress passed tax cuts in 2017, the top US corporate tax rate was 35%. 

Biden’s infrastructure plan would aim to fund childcare and free universal pre-school education, as well as programs to help rebuild, and construct new, transport systems and public-sector housing. 

“It makes much more sense to require the people who have clearly benefited the most from our system to reinvest a huge percentage of their excess wealth back into that system,” Erica Payne, president of Patriotic Millionaires, said in a statement.

Protests were also scheduled to take place in front of the Washington home of the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, the New York office of the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, and others.

Wealth

Study Finds 22 Men Own More Wealth than All Women in Africa

One of the major topics of political concern both in the United States and around the world is the problem of economic inequality, which continues to increase by the day. Oxfam International, a charity that focuses on alleviating global poverty, has released a study that found that economic inequality has become so severe that the world’s richest 22 men own more wealth than all 326 million women who live in Africa. According to Oxfam, much of the world’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few billionaires, whose fortunes contribute little to society even as women and people of color are excluded from the economy because of biased economic systems. To address the problem, Oxfam has called on governments around the world to institute policies that ease the financial burden on women who care for children and the eldery, often without pay. Oxfam recommends that governments increase taxes on the wealthy in order to fund programs to support child care and health care.

Embed from Getty Images

The report included a number of surprising statistics that highlight just how bad economic inequality has become. For example, it found that the world’s 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than 4.6 billion people; that the world’s richest 1% have over twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people; that the value of unpaid care work by women is $10.8 trillion annually; and that the number of billionaires in the world has doubled over the past decade. The report links economic inequality with gender inequality, arguing that economic policies that have been instituted around the world are biased towards men, allowing them to dominate in business in government. As a potential remedy to this problem, Oxfam recommends that governments recognize the unpaid yet essential care work performed predominantly by women by expanding the public sector’s role in providing care to children, the elderly, and others who cannot care for themselves. As populations age and governments around the world cut access to public services, this problem is expected to worsen with time.

Embed from Getty Images

Oxfam believes that the influence of the super-rich on governments is too great, as the wealthy have the power to influence governments to enact policies that benefit themselves at the expense of the world’s poor, which disproportionately affects women and people of color. There is much disagreement around the world as to whether or not the existence of billionaires is good for society. Some argue that the fact that billionaires exist is evidence of the success of the capitalist system that has raised millions of people out of poverty, whereas others say that increasing taxes on the super-wealthy would lead to a more fair, just, and equal world where fewer people suffer unnecessarily. According to Oxfam, the capitalist system is broken because of the massive and growing economic inequality it generates and how it allows wealth to essentially be taken from the poor and given to the rich.

Microsoft

Following Criticism, Elizabeth Warren Offers to Speak with Bill Gates

Bill Gates, who is known not only for his humanitarian work and his pioneering role at Microsoft but for having amassed massive amounts of wealth, recently sat down with columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin at The New York Times DealBook Conference to discuss matters of finance, philanthropy, and politics. In response to a question about taxation on wealthy individuals, Bill Gates said that he had paid over $10 billion in taxes, and that he’d be happy to pay $20 billion, but he is skeptical of tax rates higher than that. Gates insinuated that under Warren’s plan, he’d have to pay $100 billion in taxes, which he considered unacceptable. (He clarified that he meant that statement as a joke immediately after.) The interviewer then asked Gates if he had ever spoken with Warren about the topic, and he replied that he hadn’t, and that he didn’t know whether she’d be willing to “sit down with somebody, you know, who has large amounts of money.”

Embed from Getty Images

Gates’ comment about Warren’s tax plan, as well his comments about the election more generally, received a lot of attention in the media, potentially damaging Warren’s campaign. In response, Elizabeth Warren tweeted yesterday that she’d be happy to sit down with Gates, and that she’d “love to explain exactly how much [he’d] pay under [her] wealth tax.” She promised him it wouldn’t be $100 billion. Gates responded to Warren’s tweets by applauding her commitment to proposing solutions to many of the world’s greatest problems, including climate change and global poverty, and said that he respected her ambition despite their disagreements. Gates added that he’s “always willing to talk about creative solutions to these problems,” suggesting a conversation between the two may be in the works.

Gates is one of several billionaires who has recently expressed doubts about tax plans like Warren’s

Gates, who said during the recent interview that he wasn’t going to make any “political declarations,” stated nonetheless that he is likely to vote for the more “professional” candidate. This comment was criticized as a tacit endorsement of Trump, as many commentators felt that it should have been easy for Gates to denounce the sitting president. However, Gates is known for choosing not to give political endorsements, as he doesn’t want to influence the political process in that way. In fact, Gates’ preference for the more “professional” candidate could easily be read as an implicit criticism of Trump, who defies conventions of professionalism at every opportunity.

Embed from Getty Images

If Warren’s tax plan were passed into law, Gates’ taxes would surely go up, though not to the levels he suggested. Under Warren’s plan, fortunes over $1 billion would be taxed at 6%. As Gates is worth roughly $107 billion, this would mean he’d pay at least an additional $6.42 billion in taxes, a far cry from the $100 billion tax he joked about. Nevertheless, while Gates asserted that he supports progressive tax policies, he voiced skepticism and concern about Warren’s plans specifically, asserting he’d prefer “a middle-ground approach.” Notably, Sanders’ tax plan was not discussed, even though his plan calls for even greater taxes on the wealthy than Warren’s does. Perhaps a more significant source of disagreement between the two results from Warren’s proposal to break up big tech companies, which Gates opposes, though he has admitted his bias in favor of Microsoft.

Gates is one of several billionaires who has recently expressed doubts about tax plans like Warren’s; the prospect of paying more taxes drove one billionaire to tears on CNBC, and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon worried that Warren “vilifies successful people,” and expressed concern about her use of “harsh” language.

Accounting

Bernie Sanders And Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax Plans: ‘Billionaires Shouldn’t Exist’

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have been neck and neck in the democratic race for the 2020 election. In their most recent battle, both senators proposed their own plan for a “wealth tax” if they’re elected. Warren announced her initial plan would enforce a 2% tax of wealth on households making an income of $50 million, which would be around 75,000 families, and a 3% tax on households with incomes above $1 billion. Warrens bill plans on bringing in up to $2.1 trillion over the course of 10 years. 

Sanders, on the other hand, released his wealth tax plan after Warren, and after tweeting the statement “billionaires should not exist,” a bold statement followed by an even bolder plan. Sanders plans on implementing his tax on a lower level of wealth, starting with taxing 1% on households making $32 million annually, which would equate to 180,000 families. Wealth valued at over $500 million will be taxed at 4%, and wealth over $10 billion will be taxed at 8%. With his plan of action, Sanders plans on saving up to $4.35 trillion over the course of 10 years. To give an example, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, would pay around $9 billion in taxes this year if Sanders plan was currently being enforced. That’s more than the net worth of the 50 richest Americans, as listed by Forbes Magazine annually. 

Embed from Getty Images

In addition, Bill Gates would be paying $8.6 billion, Mark Zuckerberg – $5.8 billion, Larry Page – 4.8 billion, and so on, according to NBC news. The money that would be saved over the course of a decade would be used for the national student debt crisis, health care and other expenses the government doesn’t provide enough for middle to lower class Americans. 

Warren stated in an interview with the New York Times that “If we put that 2 cent wealth tax in place on the 75,000 largest fortunes in this country, 2 cents, we can do universal child care for every baby 0 to 5, universal pre-K, universal college, and knock back the student loan debt burden for 95 percent of our students and still have nearly a trillion dollars left over.”

61% of voters seem to support Warren’s plan, also according to the Times, and even Bill Gates said he would be on board with such a plan. If Warrens wealth tax had been imposed since the 1980’s Bill Gates would be currently worth around $38 billion as opposed to the actual $97 billion he’s worth. With Sanders plan he would be worth about $10 billion. Another example of how these plans would affect our current upper class would be that the 15 wealthiest Americans, currently, would be reduced by 54% under Warren’s plan, and a whopping 80% under Sanders plan. The ultimate goal is to make the 1% way less powerful than they already are, and actually take advantage of a “trickle down economy”.

Embed from Getty Images

Sanders has been criticized after tweeting his remark about billionaires that he’s making this tax plan as a means to take down Jeff Bezos specifically. Frankly, he is, and every other multi billionaire out there. There are so many statistics on the internet about how many of the worlds biggest problems could be simply solved just by making a small dent in someone like Bezos’ net worth. For instance, Bezos could solve world hunger about 5 times and still be one of the wealthiest men in America with the amount of money he has, I mean he does make around $3,000 every minute.

However, both have been criticized for having plans that seem “too good to be true” but realistically, they’re not. According to Slate Business, both Sanders and Warren’s plans show “a careful exercise in designing a progressive wealth tax that maximizes revenue while theoretically arresting, rather than just slowing, the growth of wealth inequality between billionaires and the middle class.”

That is the ultimate goal of these two Democratic candidates, to improve economic equality amongst all Americans and reduce the amount of hurdles in the system that lower class citizens must jump over to survive. The overall point of “billionaires shouldn’t exist” isn’t meant to say people who use their wealth and power for good, like Oprah, shouldn’t exist, but instead that no one individual should have the power to decide if they want to cure world hunger one day or not because of the extremely excessive amount of wealth they have. Both candidates have broken down their plans more finely so that everyone can understand that this will be advantageous for the whole country, and no one will be left at a disadvantage besides the middle and lower class if nothing continues to get done.