United Kingdom - The TUC has condemned a “tale of two Britains” which sees working people suffering “the longest pay squeeze in modern history” while bankers’ bonuses are at eye-watering levels and chief executive pay is surging. The damning criticism came as the TUC launched a blueprint to squeeze Britain’s multimillionaires for a “modest” proportion of their wealth and end the country’s “increasing wealth inequality.” The blueprint would raise £10 billion for the public purse and should be the “start of a national conversation about taxing wealth,” said TUC general secretary Paul Nowak. It would affect only 140,000 individuals — 0.3 per cent of Britain’s population.
2023 legislative sessions saw strong momentum toward creating and expanding child tax credits. Three states created a new permanent child tax credit, one created a one-time child tax credit payment, and seven states improved existing child tax credits. These efforts build on the success of the federal Child Tax Credit in reducing child poverty and improving outcomes for children in the near and long term. Many states this year have also improved their earned income tax credits (EITCs). State EITCs, like the federal EITC, boost incomes for people paid low wages and provide greater support for people caring for children, helping them better make ends meet and thrive in the long run, research has found.
“Rather than collecting taxes from the wealthy,” wrote the New York Times Editorial Board in a July 7 opinion piece, “the government is paying the wealthy to borrow their money.” Titled “America Is Living on Borrowed Money,” the editorial observes that over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), annual federal budget deficits will average around $2 trillion per year. By 2029, just the interest on the debt is projected to exceed the national defense budget, which currently eats up over half of the federal discretionary budget. In 2029, net interest on the debt is projected to total $1.07 trillion, while defense spending is projected at $1.04 trillion.
A recently published joint study conducted by Oxfam and Action Aid claims that the total windfall profit of the world’s 722 top companies crossed USD 1 trillion for the second consecutive year in 2022. The study notes that this figure, which is higher than the GDP of a majority of countries in the world, reflects an “obscene” and “immoral” quest for higher profits by the rich, who have exploited the global crisis of energy and food price inflation and higher interest rates in the last two years caused by multiple factors including the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
Recently, multiple news articles, op-eds, and think tank reports have asserted that Massachusetts is suffering an exodus of households, particularly high-income households, fleeing to states with lower taxes. A closely related claim is that outmigrants are taking billions of dollars out of the Massachusetts economy when they leave. These claims about income migration are both overblown and based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the available data. The scary portrayals of population flight are typically connected to calls for tax cuts that overwhelmingly would benefit the wealthiest households.
Could corporate CEOs anywhere in the universe have a deal much sweeter than U.S. defense contractor chiefs? The CEO at CybeCys, Inc., a Texas-based defense contractor, might quibble with that question. He isn’t feeling all that much sweetness these days. Last month, federal prosecutors announced a deal that will have this CEO and CybeCys pay over $283,000 in penalties and damages for cheating on two Covid-era federal loan programs. The CybeCys CEO seems to have transferred hefty chunks of taxpayer dollars into his own personal investment accounts and used those dollars, prosecutors charge, to buy up “securities, exchange-traded funds, and cryptocurrency.”
In the spring of 2021, the Atlanta Police Foundation announced an attractive deal for city taxpayers. If the city put up $30 million for a public safety training center, the nonprofit and its philanthropic partners would handle the rest of the project’s $90 million price tag. That promise was repeated month after month, year after year, by one mayor and then the next. Today, the Atlanta Police Foundation still asks for donations to the project on a fundraising page that says the city will only contribute $30 million to the cause. But that’s not true. And it hasn’t been true for years.
Future historians will likely look back at the debt ceiling rituals being reenacted these days with a frustrated shaking of their heads. That otherwise reasonable people would be so readily deceived raises the question that will provoke those historians: How could this happen? The U.S. Congress has imposed successive ceilings on the national debt, each one higher than the last. Ceilings were intended to limit the amount of federal borrowing. But the same U.S. Congress so managed its taxing and spending that it created ever more excesses of spending over tax revenues (deficits). Those excesses required borrowing to cover them. The borrowings accumulated to hit successive ceilings.
For several hours in early November 2022, hundreds of protesters grounded all private flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, one of the most popular and busiest airports in the world. Activists sat on runways to block private jets from taking off before military police moved in and arrested more than 100 protesters. “The superrich have got used to polluting as they please with a total disregard for people and planet, and private jets are the pinnacle of these luxury emissions that we simply cannot afford,” one activist told The Intercept. Fast forward a few months, and the protesters appeared to be on the brink of success. Schiphol Airport decided to implement a total private jet ban in an effort to reduce air traffic.
Under the Free File agreement, Americans who make less than $73,000 per year should be able to file their taxes for free with one of the tax preparation companies that partners with the IRS. But this program has been historically underutilized, with just 4% of eligible Americans filing for free in 2021. The story of the Free File program is long and twisting, and it can seem more like a fight against free tax filing than a fight for it. One of the biggest players is Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, one of the largest tax preparation software companies in the country. ProPublica has reported on Intuit and the Free File program since 2013. Here’s what we’ve found. In 2002, Intuit, H&R Block and other tax prep companies signed a deal with the IRS to provide free tax filing services to millions of Americans. In return, the IRS agreed it would not create its own tax filing system that could compete with the tax prep companies.
See our new report, researched and written by IPS, Oxfam, Patriotic Millionaires, and Fight Inequality Alliance. This report is a complement to Oxfam’s recently released, “Survival of the Richest.” Our report includes country-by-country data on wealth inequality and the revenue possibilities of national wealth taxes. The global billionaire class is gathering this week in Davos, Switzerland to talk about the ongoing “polycrisis” – a term embraced by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to describe the convergence of ecological, political, pandemic and economic disruptions. The one acute crisis they won’t talk about is the extreme levels of concentration of wealth and power happening across the globe. Estimates from our report, Extreme Wealth, demonstrate that $1.7 trillion could have been raised in 2022 alone if a progressive wealth tax were imposed on the ultra-rich. This revenue could be used to tackle global inequality and set in motion a system of economic democracy.
In the past decade, the richest 1% of people on Earth sucked up half of all new wealth. In 2020 and 2021, the richest 1% took nearly two-thirds of all new wealth – six times greater than the wealth made by the poorest 90% of the global population. “Since 2020, for every dollar of new global wealth gained by someone in the bottom 90%, one of the world’s billionaires has gained $1.7 million”, wrote Oxfam. In the meantime, global poverty is getting worse, not better. These shocking statistics were published in “Survival of the Richest“, a report authored by Oxfam, an international humanitarian organization dedicated to fighting poverty and hunger. The document details how, while hundreds of billions of working people across the planet suffer from hunger, insecurity, rising costs of living, and decreasing wages, “The very richest have become dramatically richer and corporate profits have hit record highs, driving an explosion of inequality”.
Every January, the deep pockets of our world who see themselves as deep thinkers gather high up in the Alps to contemplate the world’s most pressing problems at the annual Davos World Economic Forum. Every January, analysts at Oxfam, the global group that champions economic justice, take this annual Davos moment to report out just how much our world’s richest contribute to those problems – and just how many of those problems they outright create. This year’s Oxfam Davos-time report, Survival of the Richest: How we must tax the super-rich now to fight inequality, adds to this pattern a fascinating new twist. Just what do we have to do, this Oxfam paper essentially asks, to keep our super-rich from being super? Central to Oxfam’s answer: a call for a tax rate “of at least 75 percent on all personal income” of those making over $5 million a year, basically those who sit in our world’s wealthiest 0.1 percent.