The lockdown has been hard on everybody, well almost everybody. While you have been scraping by on your meagre savings or trying to make $2000 a month add up to utilities, groceries and mortgage or rent, some others have been doing quite well, thank you very much.
While millions of people have been laid off or seen their hours cut back dramatically, the very wealthy have continued to amass billions in the middle of the worse pandemic in modern history. Yes, they had a minor setback in their paper value when the crisis first hit, but even those losses in the stock market are coming back.
Oh, how the money rolls in
And their piles have continued to grow. On any given day of the pandemic, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Bill Gates of Microsoft have made about a billion dollars each. Every single day. Lesser lights like Warren Buffet and other major industrialists had to settle for half of that. About $500 million every single day.
Even here in Canada, Galen Weston of Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart is making way more money than he knows what to do with. And the banks, those shining lights with the ads that thank everyone and tell us they’re there for us. They are still making record profits, even as they gave us the great gift of reducing our interest rates when we had no work and no money.
Make ‘em pay with a wealth tax
You know what sucks more than that. When this is over they, meaning the corporate elite and their political puppets, will tell us that we have to pay for the virus. That all that money—which was our money in the first place—that the government gave us will have to be paid back. Paid back to whom? The bankers and the corporate elite who made money on the pandemic.
We say screw that. Let them pay for the pandemic. Why? Because they have all the money, that’s why. How? Simple. A wealth tax. If you got it. You pay it.
A modest wealth tax could generate enough to pay off all our pandemic bills PLUS give us billions of dollars annually to finance large scale national programs.
The NDP recently proposed a wealth tax of 1% for households with over $20 million in assets. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated this would generate 70 billion dollars over 10 years.
This would be enough to finance public programs like universal public long-term care and universal childcare.
Going bigger is better
But let’s go bigger than that. Let’s split the bill for the pandemic amongst the billionaires. If you’re a billionaire you can afford it. We could even give them tax credits for it.
Not that they need it since they don’t pay much taxes anyway. But tax credits could be our thank you to them for being the frontline workers of the recovery. Then we impose the wealth tax and keep it on while we rebuild our economy and reform our economic system.
We can use it to make green investments to create needed jobs in environmental protection and alternative energy. Pay for things like free public transit and pharmacare and dental care for everyone. Set a base minimum income for everybody in society: workers, the unemployed and unemployed, students and seniors.
Why not? We have nothing to lose but our debt.
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