Wednesday, June 19, 2024

#171 / A Few More Words About Billionaires


It wasn't too long ago that I commented on the number of billionaires among us. In a blog post at the end of last year, I said there were 735.

Since then, I have been advised by an email bulletin from Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen, that there are actually 806 billionaires in the United States, although Weissman properly notes, in a comment highlighted by an asterisk, that "the exact number of billionaires at any given moment fluctuates with gains and losses in the stock market and other financial metrics."

At any rate, having raised the topic of the "billionaires among us," I thought it was a good idea to pass on the additional information I have now received from Public Citizen. This group is urging its supporters - and others, including you - to "tell Congress that the American people need our elected officials to fight back against worsening economic inequality." 

Specifically, Public Citizen is urging all of us to "tell Members of Congress to pass the Ultra Millionaire Tax Act of 2024." 

If you click this link right here, I believe that Public Citizen will provide you with an opportunity to sign a petition to that effect. 

In the meantime, as you decide whether you would like to sign on, or not, here is that additional information from Public Citizen that I didn't have when I published my earlier blog post: 

  • There are approximately 806 billionaires in the United States.
  • That’s roughly 1 billionaire for every 417,265 non-billionaires.
  • The average net worth of an American billionaire today is over $7 billion.
  • The combined fortunes of all of this country’s billionaires add up to a staggering 5.8 trillion dollars.
  • Here’s what that looks like numerically: $5,800,000,000,000.00.
  • As Americans for Tax Fairness report, that is double what it was at the end of 2017, not even seven years ago.
  • For comparison, the combined wealth of the entire bottom half of our society — some 65 million households — is $3.7 trillion.
  • In other words, America’s 806 billionaires collectively have $2.1 trillion more than the entire bottom half of the country, and — because our tax system is so biased in their favor — these billionaires have numerous ways to avoid paying anything close to their fair share.
  • A bill in Congress — "The Ultra Millionaire Tax Act of 2024" — would start to bring some sanity to our nation’s disgraceful and unequal tax regime, by imposing an additional — though actually still quite modest — tax on those whose net worth exceeds $50 million.
  • "The Ultra Millionaire Tax Act of 2024" would also give the IRS much-needed additional resources to keep after the wealthiest taxpayers (or tax cheats, as the case may be).
  • Sponsors of this critical new legislation include Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and Representatives Pramila Jayapal, Brendan Boyle, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

To give you a hint of what I think, I signed the petition!

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