Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) introduced a bill Friday to tax billionaires sixty percent of their pandemic-earned assets. The proposed bill, “Make Billionaires Pay Act,” would use the tax money to cover individual healthcare expenses for one year.
In a tweeted video, Sanders argued billionaires have profited off the coronavirus pandemic while the rest of the country has suffered.
“This is what a rigged economy is about. During the last four to five months during the last pandemic, over 30 million Americans have lost their jobs. Many of them are struggling to put food on the table. They’re worried about evictions, they’re worried about being able to pay for health care. That’s the reality for working families all across this country. But during the pandemic there’s another reality. And that is that the top 467 billionaires in this country – a handful of people, a few hundred people – have seen their wealth increase by over $700 billion dollars. I’m talking about Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg. I’m talking about people who are already phenomenally rich during this pandemic, becoming much richer.”
The bill would reimburse individuals for provisions in any public or private health insurance plans that occurred throughout the pandemic. And, health care providers may not charge applicable individuals for their services: they must wait for government reimbursement. “Applicable individuals” would extend to residents of the U.S. in addition to citizens.
Omar tweeted that the bill would force billionaires to “pay their fair share”.
However, it’s likely the bill would make lesser impact than hoped for as the number of billionaires continues to decrease exponentially. In the early stages of the pandemic alone, Forbes reported nearly three hundred individuals worldwide who lost their billionaire status over the course of two weeks – over half of all billionaires became much poorer than in 2019.
If passed, the bill would acquire $400 billion in appropriations.
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