Sen. Sanders’ proposed tax bill could cost Jeff Bezos $43 billion, Elon Musk $28 billion
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders proposed a new one-time tax called the ‘Make Billionaires Pay’ Act which would tax 60% of wealth gains made between March 18 and January 1, 2021. Yahoo Finance’s The Final Round panel discusses the details and what it means for big name businesses.
- All right, well, sticking with DC, we got some interesting news here from senator Bernie Sanders-- a proposal that he's putting forward introducing legislation to impose a 60% tax on billionaire's wealth gains from March 18th through the end of the year. Now he's saying that the funds will be used to pay for out-of-pocket health care expenses for all Americans for a year.
And Miles, when we talk about just the implications of this, or I guess who would be on the hook. I know we have a full screen here. Looking at what Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos, what he would pay, what Elon Musk would pay, what Mark Zuckerberg would pay. But I mean, from where it goes from here, it sounds like a non-starter. But what do you think?
- Well, I think, yes, this specific bill will not be passed. And there will not be paying taxes on the gains. Basically saying stock gains that accrued to billionaires during the pandemic should be taxed because they came at the expense of workers who were out of work and who lost everything. And I think that that impulse is fair. But this bill will not be passed.
But I think what is notable is that this is one of many tax the rich proposals that we've seen. And it's certainly not going to be the last that we see from the Senate. And I think that as we move forward here through the next decade as a country, it seems less and less likely that the richest Americans-- who have essentially skated by with all sorts of loopholes and ways to not pay taxes on their wealth-- will be able to continue that indefinitely.
It just seems that there is too much political inertia from the left. And more and more politicians getting elected on platforms that would explicitly say we need to impose a tax on wealth over, whether it's $50 million, $100 million, $1 billion, which applies to such a small number of Americans. It would seem likely that this is, again, this is just part of a theme that I think will eventually matter for the richest Americans. It's not going to matter right now. But I think that this is probably coming. And probably sooner than many of these wealthy Americans would like to believe.
But on the other hand, John Paulson's throwing a Trump fundraiser. And Steve Schwarzman is giving him a few million dollars. These guys are also worried about it too. So I don't think it's the craziest thing to see a world in which hundred billionaires-- Mark Zuckerberg got $100 billion now. I think there's a world in which some of that is taxed at a rate that it hasn't been before.
- I'm starting to wonder if this is something that could gain support beyond the traditional left. I mean, 60% is high. Yes. But you do have to wonder that when we're talking about millions of people out of work, whether there is this growing-- I don't know if it's animosity, resentment, or what the right word is. But there is a growing divide.
And so I'm thinking back to when Bernie Sanders was still a presidential candidate. Elizabeth Warren also put forward the wealth tax. And we're talking, you know, different formats here. But there seem to be more-- it seemed like that was more dismissed back then.
I feel like there is some momentum here that's gaining. That says, look, at a time when the US is struggling in a very significant way, there's got to be a way to narrow this divide that exists. And I'm not sure what kind of form that takes. But you have to wonder if there is increasing support for taxing the rich, or going after the rich in some way, especially when the divide is so big.
- And well, there certainly is some support when you take into account how many people, how many supporters Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren had during their campaigns. There certainly is support for that. But whether or not it will be broader support here beyond just the far left, that's a big question going forward.