Demand Congress Tax Billionaire Wealth by Including
The Billionaire Income Tax in the Build Back Better Plan
Americans for Tax Fairness Action Fund & Action Network
(October 16, 2021) — Democrats are committed to paying for President Biden’s Build Back Better plan by increasing taxes on the rich and corporations. But, based on the tax plan approved by the House Ways and Means Committee, billionaires could get away with not paying any more in taxes. That’s because most billionaires’ income comes from the growing value of their wealthy investments, not from a paycheck. The rich have to sell those investments to get taxed, which many don’t do. Instead, they borrow against those assets at low-interest rates to enjoy a lavish lifestyle.
Now, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden has proposed the Billionaires Income Tax to end the scandal of tax-free billionaires. The tax would only apply to the roughly 700 American billionaires, taxing the annual growth of their wealth. Unofficial estimates predict this tax could raise hundreds of billions of dollars over 10 years.
According to a report from Americans for Tax Fairness, America’s 700+ billionaires saw their wealth increase by $1.8 trillion―or 62%―during the first 17 months of the pandemic. That boost in wealth alone could pay for more than half of the president’s 10-year $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan.
Polling shows that the Billionaires Income Tax is strongly supported by the American people with support for the Build Back Better plan rising by a net of 20 to 40 points when voters learn that it would be funded by a tax on billionaires’ investment gains.
According to a ProPublica investigative report, some years billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Michael Bloomberg have paid no federal income taxes. The 25 billionaires covered in ProPublica’s analysis saw their wealth rise by $401 billion from 2014 to 2018, yet they paid only $13.6 billion in federal income taxes for a tax rate of just 3.4%. A White House analysis found that billionaires pay an effective federal income tax rate of 8%. By comparison, middle-class workers like teachers, nurses and firefighters pay a 13% federal income tax rate.
It’s time to unrig our tax system and that starts by taxing the extreme wealth gains of America’s 700+ billionaires. It would be a moral outrage if these extremely fortunate few did not pay more in taxes under the Build Back Better legislation!
Write to your U.S. senators and representative today and call on them to include the Billionaires Income Tax in Build Back Better legislation to ensure billionaires begin paying their fair share toward critical investments in our future.
Dear Senator and Representative,
Because of the way most billionaires make their money, their wealth could easily remain untouched in the Build Back Better plan, unless you include Chairman Ron Wyden’s Billionaires Income Tax.
The Billionaires Income Tax would provide a central funding source for President Biden’s Build Back Better investment agenda, taxing the annual growth in their wealth and raising hundreds of billions of dollars.
According to a ProPublica investigative report, some years billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Michael Bloomberg have paid no federal income taxes. The 25 billionaires covered in ProPublica’s analysis found that they paid a federal income tax rate of just 3.4% from 2014-2018 as their wealth grew by $401 billion. By comparison, the federal income tax rate for middle-class workers like teachers, nurses and firefighters averages 13%.
And, during the first 17 months of the pandemic, billionaires have seen their wealth grow by an astounding 62% — or $1.8 trillion. At the same time, millions of ordinary Americans lost their jobs, homes or lives.
Polling shows that voters’ support of the Build Back Better plan rises by a net of 20 to 40 points when they learn it would be funded by a tax — at the same rate as on wages and salaries — on billionaires’ investment gains above $1 billion.
I urge you to include Chairman Ron Wyden’s Billionaires Income Tax in the Build Back Better plan to ensure billionaires start paying their fair share in taxes.