Nearly 250 millionaires demand billionaire income tax

  • A group of 248 billionaires signed a letter calling for an income tax on billionaires.
  • Last week, Senate Democrats proposed taxing billionaire stock earnings – before dropping it.
  • One signer says the time is right: “What we’re trying to do is tell our members of Congress that no, in fact these progressive policies are good for everyone.

Nearly 250 millionaires are calling on Democrats to include a billionaire income tax to pay for their social spending program.

Democrats are finally taking a look at what the final proposal will look like and are would have hoped to vote on the legislation Tuesday.

Latest framework is only $ 1.75 trillion, half the price of Senate Democrats’ initial $ 3.5 trillion package, and omits several tax hikes originally proposed to help fund initiatives such as child care, Medicare expansion and climate action. Instead, it includes a 5% surtax on Americans who earn more than $ 5 million.

Some millionaires want lawmakers to revert to an idea they had last week – a tax on the net earnings of billionaires.

In a letter Organized by left-wing advocacy groups Responsible Wealth, Patriotic Millionaires and Americans for Tax Fairness, 248 millionaires write that moving forward with billionaire tax is a “rare opportunity to reform our broken tax code that has for too long. the richest means to avoid paying their share for a long time. ”They note that around 700 families would be affected and that the current system would allow for some billionaires to pay nothing in income tax.

“I think the pushback is, ‘Oh, you know, the rich might, I don’t know, go on strike or something like that if we raise their taxes, so we have to have a policy of appeasement,’ and that never worked, ”Morris Pearl, the president of the Patriotic Millionaires, told Insider. “But what we’re trying to do is tell our members of Congress that no, in fact these progressive policies are good for everyone, including the long term best interests of those of us who are very wealthy too. ”

The groups were referring to a tax plan by Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, who crafted a proposal targeting the assets of billionaires. Currently, assets like stocks are only taxed when sold – called a capital gain. But America’s richest rich are probably not selling their huge stock portfolios; instead, their primary form of income is the value these assets accumulate. Under Wyden’s plan, this annual increase in value – called unrealized gains – would be taxed each year.

Wyden’s proposal would only apply to people earning more than $ 100 million a year, or those who have held $ 1 billion in assets for three years. An analysis by economist Gabriel Zucman found that the tax could bring in $ 500 billion, with $ 275 billion collected just from the richest 10 billionaires. Earlier White House analysis found that when unrealized gains are counted as income, billionaires pay an average of only 8.2% in income taxes.

But this proposal to raise taxes for billionaires is currently off the plan. It only lasted a few hours on Wednesday, before Senator Joe Manchin expressed his doubts about it. Shortly after, Wyden’s House counterpart Richard Neal, the chairman of Ways and Means, said it was “highly unlikely” to make it to the House if it could not pass in the Senate.

Currently, the tax provisions include a minimum corporate tax of 15% and a surtax of 5% on US millionaires. The millionaires wrote that they supported the surtax proposal, but without the billionaire income tax, many billionaires will still pay low tax rates.

“What we miss is what used to be called the middle class – the millions and millions and millions of people who were doing well, who bought cars and took their kids to buy ice cream and went to Disneyland and finally paying their children’s school fees. This is what our country lacks, “Pearl said.” We have a lot of billionaires. We have no shortage of them. “

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