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Bernie Sanders Authors Bill to Tax Billionaires’ Pandemic Gains

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced legislation on Thursday that would tax billionaires to cover Americans’ health care expenses for one year. The bill was co-sponsored by Democratic Senators Ed Markey (MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY).

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

The Make Billionaires Pay Act, were it to become law, would “establish a 60% tax on the gains in wealth billionaires made between March 18th, 2020 and January 1, 2021” and “empower Medicare to pay for the out-of-pocket healthcare expenses of all Americans for one year,” Sanders wrote in a statement.

Between March 18 and August 5, the 467 billionaires who call the United States home have raked in a mind-numbing $761 billion.

Sanders’ made clear his frustration with the incomprehensible disparity in wealth distribution as the coronavirus pandemic rages across the country. More than 160,000 Americans have died and tens of millions are out of work, with no end in sight.

“The legislation I am introducing today will tax the obscene wealth gains billionaires have made during this extraordinary crisis to guarantee healthcare as a right to all for an entire year,” said Sanders. “At a time of enormous economic pain and suffering, we have a fundamental choice to make. We can continue to allow the very rich to get much richer while everyone else gets poorer and poorer. Or we can tax the winnings a handful of billionaires made during the pandemic to improve the health and well-being of tens of millions of Americans.  In my view, it is time for the Senate to act on behalf of the working class who are hurting like they have never hurt before, not the billionaire class who are doing phenomenally well and have never had it so good.”

The tax hike, if passed, would raise $421.7 billion in revenue. The list of hyper-wealthy Americans with gobs of cash to spare includes:

The Walton family, with a gargantuan $215,000,000,000 fortune, would pay a one-time wealth tax of $12.9 billion.

Jeff Bezos, worth $178,000,000,000, would pay a one-time wealth tax of $42.8 billion.

Mark Zuckerberg, whose net worth surpassed $100,000,000,000 on Thursday, would pay a one-time wealth tax of $22.8 billion.

Elon Musk, whose net worth tripled to $70,500,000,000 since the pandemic began, would pay a one-time wealth tax of $27.5 billion.

Meanwhile, 5.4 million Americans have lost their health insurance, and 51 million people have relied on federal pandemic unemployment benefits, which expired on July 31 because Senate Republicans have so far refused to extend them.



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