Bill Gates made 2020 his New Year's Resolution to increase taxes on the ultrawealthy, including himself. As Democrats look to raise taxes on America's billionaires, this wish may come true.
Gates stated that "We have updated our tax system before in order to keep pace with changing times" and suggested that we do so again.
This is exactly what Democrats plan to propose this week. Ron Wyden's plan would aim to reduce the unrealized gains value of stock and other assets that billionaires accumulate every year. Although it's not an entirely wealth tax, it is close. It would also pay for the Social Safety Net Bill Democrats plan to vote on this week, which includes expanded healthcare and childcare.
Elon Musk mocked the plan via Twitter. However, billionaires Warren Buffett and George Soros also proposed a wealth tax to help reduce America's wealth gap and to fund education and healthcare initiatives. A group of 18 ultrawealthy Americans including Abigail Disney, members of the Pritzker, and Gund families published an open letter asking presidential candidates for support for a moderate wealth tax in the lead-up to 2020's presidential election.
This is a topic that politicians have also discussed: A wealth tax, similar to the one proposed by Senator Elizabeth Warren, would see ultra-wealthy Americans pay a small portion of their annual net worth to the federal government. Bernie Sanders presented a wealth tax plan that is even more aggressive and ambitious than Warren's.
The pandemic has exacerbated inequality and prompted more calls for a wealth-tax. America's billionaires have added $2.1 trillion to their fortunes while millions struggle with poverty and pandemic-induced unemployment. The problem of increasing inequality is not new: Income inequality in the US in 2018 was at its highest point in over 50 years. According to Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley and Gabriel Zucman, the ultra-wealthy paid less in taxes in 2018 than the average American.
Business Insider reported that while the idea of using wealth taxes to address America's inequality problem is gaining traction, there have been questions about its effectiveness and constitutionality.
Continue reading to find out more about the top-profile multimillionaires and billionaires who publicly support raising taxes on the 1 percent. The list is in chronological order.