Oxfam Says It's Time for 'Billionaire-Busting' Taxes

Since 2020, two-thirds of all new wealth created has gone to 1%, group says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2023 12:19 PM CST
Oxfam Says It's Time for 'Billionaire-Busting' Taxes
Food companies making big profits as inflation has surged should face windfall taxes to help cut global inequality, anti-poverty group Oxfam said Monday.   (AP Photo/Michal Dyjuk, File)

Oxfam has once again released startling figures on inequality to mark the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Over the last two years, two-thirds of all new wealth created has gone to the richest 1% of the world's population, up from an average of around 50% over the last decade, the anti-poverty group says in its "Survival of the Richest" report. Oxfam says that for the first time in 25 years, the rise in extreme wealth is being accompanied by a rise in extreme poverty, with at least 1.7 billion people living in countries where inflation is outpacing wages, the Guardian reports. The group is calling for "billionaire-busting" tax hikes to significantly reduce the wealth of the world's richest, who benefited disproportionately from government polices to keep economies afloat during the pandemic.

"While ordinary people are making daily sacrifices on essentials like food ... this decade is shaping up to be the best yet for billionaires," Oxfam International director Gabriela Bucher said in a press release. "Taxing the super-rich and big corporations is the door out of today’s overlapping crises. It’s time we demolish the convenient myth that tax cuts for the richest result in their wealth somehow ‘trickling down’ to everyone else. Forty years of tax cuts for the super-rich have shown that a rising tide doesn’t lift all ships—just the superyachts." Bucher tells the AP that there should be "windfall taxes, not only on energy companies but also on food companies to end this crisis profiteering."

"As a starting point, the world should aim to halve the wealth and number of billionaires between now and 2030, both by increasing taxes on the top 1% and adopting other billionaire-busting policies," the report said. "This would bring billionaire wealth and numbers back to where they were just a decade ago in 2012." Oxfam says even a 5% tax on the richest could lift 2 billion people out of poverty. The group's report included an example to highlight massive tax discrepancies, the Washington Post reports. Elon Musk, the world's second-richest person, paid a true tax rate of around 3% between 2014 and 2018, Oxfam says. A market trader selling rice and flour in Uganda, meanwhile, paid 40% income tax. (Read more billionaires stories.)

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