“Tax the Rich:” 10 Billionaires Added $402 Billion to Their Fortunes in 2021

The world’s 10 richest billionaires added roughly $402 billion to their collective wealth in 2021, a year marked by continued suffering and economic dislocation fueled by the global coronavirus pandemic.

“Heading into 2022, the 10 wealthiest individuals in the world are all worth more than $100 billion,” CNBC notedCiting the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which tracks and ranks the fortunes of the planet’s richest people.

Rep. Pramila Japal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. saidSunday’s dramatic rise in wealth of billionaires amid a global economic crisis and public health emergency should force Congress to take action. finally redressThe fundamental injustices of the U.S. Tax System

“In 2022,” said Jayapal, “let’s tax the rich and invest in our communities.”

Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and Tesla CEO, was at the top on the Billionaires Index at 2021’s close. He had more than $121 Billion in wealth last year due to the pandemic that took lives and completely upended them. tens of millionsa rise in poverty and increased inequality. The former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was second on the list, adding $5 billion to his net worth by 2021, giving him a total fortune $195 billion.

In November, the World Food Programme’s (WFP) head will be in attendance. outlined a proposal by which Musk — now the richest man in the world — and other U.S. billionaires could donate just 0.36% of their pandemic wealth gains to help 42 million people facing starvation.

“The $6.6 billion required would help those in most need in the following way: one meal a day, the basic needed to survive — costing $0.43 per person per day, averaged out across the 43 countries,” the WFP said. “This would feed 42 million people for one year, and avert the risk of famine.”

The billionaires are not taking the WFP up to its modest plan of saving millions of lives with a small fraction of their pandemic profits.

The investigative outlet ProPublica reported in June that Musk, along with other U.S. billionaires, “paid $0 in federal income taxes” in 2018. Musk was widely publicized for his sale of a portion of his Tesla stockThis could trigger a significant tax event.

Bob Lord, an associate fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, pointed out in a recent article that it is not easy to be a policy analyst. blog post, Musk “has paid tax in 2021 — lots of it — because doing so was by far his best option.”

“Did he pay more tax than any American in history, as he claims? Probably,” Lord wrote. “But he also received compensation of more than $20 billion, which almost certainly dwarfs the compensation any other CEO in American history has ever been paid, from a company with profits not remotely commensurate with that level of compensation.”

The updated billionaire wealth numbers are available as Democrats in Congress struggle with a path forward to their flagship social spending legislation and climate legislation. These bills have been held up by corporate-backed Senator Joe Manchin (D.Wa.).).

The House-passed version of the Build Back Better Act includes a surtax on millionaires and other measures to help fund the bill’s investments and reduce out-of-control inequality. According to the Washington PostManchin, recently told the Biden White House that he would be willing to support “some version” of a tax targeting billionaires, an idea that the West Virginia Democrat criticized in October.

“While the specifics of what Manchin would support remain unclear, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has unveiled a tax aimed at the accrued wealth of America’s approximately 700 billionaires,” the Post noted. “The measure is aimed at addressing the massive gains of the wealthiest Americans with a federal tax and probably would be unprecedented in how few people it affected… Congress’ nonpartisan scorekeeper has estimated it could raise as much as $550 billion over 10 years, or pay for more than one-quarter of the Democrats’ spending bill.”

In a social media post on New Year’s Day, the Patriotic Millionaires — a group composed of wealthy supporters of progressive taxation — warned that “history paints a bleak picture of what happens to extremely unequal societies.”

“For the well-being of rich and poor alike, it’s time to confront inequality and choose to tax the rich,” the group wrote. “If you don’t, then all the talk at Davos won’t change what’s coming — it’s taxes or pitchforks.”