Three U.S. Senators believe Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and owner of the Washington Post, has too much money. They want to impose a tax that would make him pay the federal government $71.3 billion. The tax also would hit three other billionaires hard. They would be taxed on 60% of their income from March 18, 2020, until January 1, 2021. So, a great deal of the tax would cover the period since the COVID-19 pandemic slammed America. Notably, no American who made less than $1 billion over the period would be taxed. The proposal almost certainly will not be voted into law.
The proposal by Senators Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey and Kirsten Gillibrand would target 467 billionaires who had their net worths increase by approximately $731.8 billion during the pandemic. The money would go, in part, to fund universal health care all Americans for one year. The figures come from the Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies.
To make their point, the three Senators made examples of several of America’s richest people and said how hard the tax would hit them. They include SpaceX and Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, whose wealth has nearly tripled during the pandemic from $24.6 billion to $70.5 billion. He would pay a one-time wealth tax of $27.5 billion. Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) chief Mark Zuckerberg, who is worth $92.7 billion, which rose from $54.7 billion since March 18, would pay $22.8 billion. The Walton family, the wealthiest family in America and majority owners of Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), has had their wealth grow by $21.5 billion. They would pay $12.9 billion.
The legislation also includes funding for Empower Medicare, which would pay for the out-of-pocket health care expenses of all Americans for one year.
Part of the rationale for the law is the money made by the billionaires came during the course of one of the greatest financial catastrophes over the course of American history.
Will the law be passed? No. Republicans still control the Senate and the White House. To a great extent, much of the tax legislation over the past several years has favored America’s wealthiest. That won’t change. So, the billionaires are safe.