The Strategist

Oxfam calls for withholding 99% of excess income tax from billionaires during pandemic

08/12/2021 - 08:16

A one-time emergency tax on billionaires would raise $5.4 trillion and provide vaccinations for the entire world and a $20,000 benefit for all the unemployed, Oxfam, the Alliance Against Inequality, the Institute for Policy Studies and Patriotic Millionaires calculated.

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A one-time 99 percent tax on billionaire income gains during a pandemic could provide vaccinations for the entire world and a $20,000 benefit for all the unemployed, the authors of a joint study by Oxfam, the Inequality Alliance, the Institute for Policy Research and Patriotic Millionaires calculated.

The researchers explained that the cost of vaccination was estimated based on the calculation of two doses at $ 7 per dose for 5 billion people, for a total of $ 70 billion. 

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), 220 million people are unemployed. Of those, 114 million are unemployed because of COVID-19. A one-time cash subsidy of $20,000 to all the unemployed would cost $4.4 trillion. The combined net worth of the world's billionaires is $13.5 trillion, up from $8 trillion at the start of the pandemic, up nearly 69 percent, the study says. A one-time emergency tax on billionaires would have raised $5.4 trillion and still left the world's 2,690 billionaires $55 billion richer than before the pandemic, the study authors calculated. 

Billionaire wealth has grown more in the past 17 months than it has in the past 15 years, and 325 new billionaires have joined the club since the pandemic began.  "That's the equivalent of about one new billionaire minted every day," the study authors said. At least nine people have become new billionaires since the pandemic began, thanks to the excessive profits of pharmaceutical corporations with monopolies on COVID-19 vaccines, they note. The World Bank researchers estimate that the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged more than 200 million people into poverty.