Pay Up: It’s Time to Tax Billionaires

Pay Up: It’s Time to Tax Billionaires

Session Type(s): Featured Keynote Panel

At a time when millions of Americans are working two or three jobs to feed their families, the three wealthiest people in this country own more wealth than the bottom half of the American people. Over the last 30 years, the top 1 percent has seen a $21 trillion increase in its wealth, while the bottom half of American society has actually lost $900 billion in wealth. In other words, there has been a massive transfer of wealth from those who have too little to those who have too much. The reality is that we already have a wealth tax in America—the property tax—and it disproportionately impacts working class families. One of the biggest sources of wealth for middle-income families is owner-occupied homes, which are taxed in most states at rates that can be as high as, or even higher than, 1 percent. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the wealth owned by the top 0.1 percent of Americans is not housing or real property and is not subject to any sort of property tax. For the sake of our democracy and working families all over America who are struggling economically, that has got to change. The majority of Americans agree: outrageous level of inequality that exists in our country today demands an annual tax on the extreme wealth of the top 0.1%. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have proposed a 2% annual tax on wealth over $50 million, rising to 3% for wealth over $1 billion. There has never been a more urgent time to get that legislation across the finish line.