Small Wealth Tax Would Raise Enough for Two $1,400 Stimulus Checks—Report

A small wealth tax on America's multi-millionaires and billionaires would raise more than $900 billion a year, according to a new report—an amount that could easily fund the cost of sending out two more $1,400 stimulus checks to Americans.

The analysis, published Wednesday by Fight Inequality Alliance, Institute for Policy Studies, Oxfam and a group called Patriotic Millionaires, noted that the wealth of world's richest has risen dramatically despite deepening inequality during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The wealth of American billionaires has increased by $2 trillion since the start of the pandemic, according to the report, entitled: "Taxing Extreme Wealth: An annual tax on the world's multi-millionaires and billionaires: What it would raise and what it could pay for."

But a wealth tax, with rates at 2 percent for those with more than $5 million rising to 5 percent for billionaires, would raise $928.39 billion a year, the report calculated.

A more progressive wealth tax, with rates at 2 percent on wealth over $5 million rising to 10 percent for those with more than $1 billion, would raise $1.34 trillion.

The report said an extra $928.39 billion could raise the government's health budget by a third or eliminate half of households' out-of-pocket health costs.

The American Rescue Plan last year included about $400 billion that was used for $1,400 direct payments to most Americans.

But with many American families still struggling financially during the ongoing pandemic, another $928.39 billion in tax revenue could cover the cost of two more $1,400 stimulus checks.

A mobile billboard featuring Elon Musk
A mobile billboard organized by "Patriotic Millionaires" calling for higher taxes on the ultra-wealthy depicts an image of billionaire businessman Elon Musk, near the U.S. Capitol on May 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The report also found that a wealth tax on the world's multi-millionaires and billionaires could raise $2.52 trillion annually, enough to lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty, make enough vaccines for the entire world and guarantee healthcare and social protection for those living in lower income countries.

It comes after Patriotic Millionaires, a group of more than 100 of the world's richest people, urged governments to charge them more tax.

"As millionaires, we know that the current tax system is not fair," they said in an open letter published to coincide with the World Economic Forum's "virtual Davos", which began on Monday.

"Most of us can say that, while the world has gone through an immense amount of suffering in the last two years, we have actually seen our wealth rise during the pandemic—yet few if any of us can honestly say that we pay our fair share in taxes."

The letter's signatories include Disney heiress Abigail Disney and Nick Hanauer, an American entrepreneur who was an early investor in Amazon.