Bernie Sanders Wants WWII-Style Tax on 95 Percent of Corporate Windfall Profits

On Friday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) introduced a bill that would capture nearly all of the excess profits being raked in by major U.S. corporations as they exploit ongoing crises to pad shareholders’ and executives’ pockets.

The Ending Corporate Greed Act would levy a 95 percent tax onExcess profits for corporations with more than $500m in annual revenue would be applied to approximately 30 of the most prominent companies. The bill, which was cosponsored by Senator Ed Markey (D.Massachusetts), and introduced in the House by Rep. Jamaal bowman (D.New York), would raise an estimated $400 Billion in one year.

Unlike recent windfall tax proposals, Sanders’s bill would target not only the oil and gas industry but all other large corporations in the country, including Amazon, Starbucks, Blackstone and Pfizer.

The legislation was inspired in part by windfall profit taxes that were enacted in the ’80s. first and second World WarsThe Korean War, and the Korean War; the tax rate was 95 percent during WWII to stop war profiteering. As Sanders’s press release on the bill points out, the U.S. enacted a windfall profits tax on oil and gas companies in the 1980sAfter the 1970s oil crisis, the government temporarily applied price controls to oil.

“The American people are sick and tired of the unprecedented corporate greed that exists all over this country. They are sick and tired of being ripped-off by corporations making record-breaking profits while working families are forced to pay outrageously high prices for gas, rent, food, and prescription drugs,” Sanders said in a statement.

“The time has come for Congress to work for working families and demand that large, profitable corporations make a little bit less money and pay their fair share of taxes,” he continued.

Profits that are higher than average profits from pre-pandemic years would be subject to the tax, and wouldn’t be subject to revenues to ensure that companies aren’t punished for raising prices for legitimate reasons.

Last year, major corporations such as Chevron, Apple, and Moderna made tens to billions more dollars than they did in the pre-pandemic years. between 2015 and 2019, Amazon made an average of $6.9 billion in profits a year, but the company’s profits skyrocketed to $38.2 billion in 2021.

The bill would discourage companies raising prices to boost profits. run rampantIn recent years, companies have taken advantage of the COVID economic and the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

Sanders’s bill is similar to previous Democratic proposals in that It targetsProfits from corporate windfalls are rising, but it is much larger in scope and scale.

Previous bills only targeted oil and natural gas companies; this proposal does the opposite. by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) would tax Big Oil’s income in 2022 at only 50 percent above companies’ average pre-pandemic incomes. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-California) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-Rhode Island) windfall tax bill would subject crude oil barrels imported or produced to a 50 percent tax on the difference between current prices and average pre-pandemic prices.

Progressive advocates and economists say that Sanders’s bill is necessary to protect customers from being fleeced by companies that are seeking to fill executives’ and shareholders’ wallets. Organizations like the Economic Policy Institute or the Sunrise Movement have endorsed the bill.

“The Covid pandemic, and now war in Europe, have caused immense suffering — but also prosperity for a few giant corporations,” said University of California, Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman. “In the past, the United States has successfully used excess profits taxes to remedy this unfairness. Senator Sanders’s bill reconnects with this distinguished tradition, for the benefit of us all.”