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$2 Trillion, or 70%, Pandemic Wealth Gain of Nation’s 740 Richest

Americans For Tax Fairness: “American billionaires saw their collective net worth climb by $2 trillion, or 70%, during the first two years of the pandemic to a staggering $5 trillion, according to Forbes data analyzed by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF). [See table below and all data here] But none of that wealth growth—the main source of billionaire income—may ever be taxed. The total number of U.S. billionaires increased from 614 to 741 over the two-year period from March 18, 2020, to April 5, 2022. Loopholes often allow billionaires to pay little or no federal income tax. An expose last year by ProPublica based on IRS data revealed that Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and other top billionaires paid zero federal income tax in several recent years. It determined that the top 25 billionaires paid just a 3.4% tax rate between 2014 to 2018 when the growth in their wealth is counted as income. White House economists have determined the nation’s 400 richest billionaires paid a tax rate of only 8.2% over a recent nine-year span when the increased value of their corporate stock was counted as income. The average federal income-tax rate for all taxpayers was 13.3% in 2019. Billionaires and other very wealthy people overwhelmingly generate income not from a job or small business, but from the growth in the value of their investments. But that form of income is never taxed unless the investments are sold. Yet the very wealthy do not need to sell their assets to turn the increasing value of their wealth into cash income; instead, they use their swelling fortunes to secure special low-interest loans allowing them to live lavishly without paying income taxes. Moreover, a lifetime of such income growth from assets can be passed onto the next generation tax-free…”

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