Senator Bernie Sanders has just introduced new legislation that would tax billionaires who have accumulated “obscene wealth gains” since the start of the Covid-19 crisis and wants to direct that money to Medicare.
This tax money would cover all out-of-pocket medical expenses for all citizens for a full year.
This new legislation is called the Make Billionaires Pay Act and is co-sponsored by Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
In a speech on the Senate floor, Sanders explains “if we taxed 60% of the windfall gains these billionaires made from March 18th until August 3rd, we could raise over $420 billion. That’s enough revenue to allow Medicare to pay all of the out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for everyone in America over the next 12 months.”
Over 5.4 million-Americans have lost health insurance during this time while billionaires are profiting off of the pandemic. It is time they give back to their consumers, workers, and fellow citizens.
“As our country faces vast economic and health needs, billionaires continue to display their appetite for greed. The Make Billionaires Pay Act smartly uses our tax code to take on the co-crises of COVID-19 health care disparities and the gaping income inequalities in our nation,” says Susan Harley, Managing Director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.
According to Common Dreams, in his speech Sanders lists several examples of “morally obscene” billionaire profiteering during the pandemic:
- While Amazon is denying paid sick leave, hazard pay, and personal protective equipment to 450,000 of its workers, Jeff Bezos has increased his wealth by over $70 billion.
- While U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing the starvation wages at Walmart, our nation’s largest private employer, the Walton family has made over $20 billion during the pandemic and now has a net worth of over $200 billion.
- While 40 million Americans face eviction, Elon Musk has nearly tripled his wealth over the past four months and now has a net worth of more than $70 billion.
- While millions of Americans are lining up at emergency food banks because they don’t have enough money to put food on the table, Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook has increased his wealth by more than $37 billion during the pandemic and is now worth over $90 billion.