What America’s Billionaires Have – LA Progressive

Want to know how many America’s top 9 billionaires have? $ 1.221 trillion collectively. If we had the courage to tax every one of them except $ 10 billion (a total of $ 90 billion), then the nation would have $ 1,131 billion more.

Gee, that would make all 9 billionaires poor! (Don’t be stupid, they would still be as rich as everyone else).

What could we do with this money? We could buy 41,999,160 new cars, enough to get a new Prius for about 40% of the population. Or pay a year’s salary for 18 million primary teachers (there are only 2 million such teachers, so the money would cover them for about 9 years). Or pay the salaries of 56.8 million army soldiers (there are only about 5.68 million, which means the money would cover their salaries for about 10 years). Or it would cover $ 1 million in spending per day for over 2,720 years to come. Any of these things would cost about $ 1,000 billion. There would still be $ 131 billion left.

In the name of God, why do these people need this kind of money? Couldn’t they live comfortably on $ 10 billion each? Yes, of course they could!

Why are the rich not taxed more appropriately? Simple: they are using their wealth to persuade lawmakers to keep their tax rates low.

The richest 1% of the United States owns $ 41.5 trillion. The federal government spent only $ 6.6 trillion in 2020. In other words, the government could tax the richest 1% $ 6.6 trillion and leave them just under $ 35 trillion. , and pay all federal expenses. Of course, that wouldn’t be particularly fair, as the richest 1% made “only” $ 2.38 trillion in 2020, but it gives you an idea of ​​what the rich actually have. And over the past week, we have learned through the “Pandora Papers” that the world’s rich are hiding their money and assets from authorities, their creditors and the public using a network of lawyers and financial institutions. who promise secrecy. (The names of many of America’s richest people didn’t appear in the Pandora Papers – either because the financial services they use weren’t included, or because they pay tax rates if low that they do not consider it necessary to hide their wealth abroad).

Why are the rich not taxed more appropriately? Simple: they are using their wealth to persuade lawmakers to keep their tax rates low. They also use all kinds of accounting tricks (legal and illegal) to hide their income. And we are not doing what is necessary to bring their tax rates to a more appropriate level. Additionally, we do not design the systems necessary to uncover the tricks used to hide income. We should put in place a national whistleblower system so that people speak out against the rich who are hiding their wealth.

Americans – even the poorest – seem to think it is in the best interests of the country and their interests that people amass outrageous amounts of wealth. Let’s say it right away: this is not true. Many other countries in the world have prosperous economies even though the rich do not keep such gross wealth. Let us not forget that in 1944-1945 – when our economy was doing really well – a rate of 94% applied to any income over $ 200,000 ($ 2.4 million in 2009 dollars, taking into account inflation). What was wrong with this system? Answer: nothing.


Face the facts: wealth inequality is a major problem in the United States. Inequality of wealth leads to political corruption and enormous discontent among those at the bottom of the income chain. Inequality of wealth is what gave us the Trump presidency. And that’s what put us in a political stalemate in 2021. And the political stalemate is allowing climate change to accelerate, to the detriment of all of us.

Michel hertz

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