A new Oxfam America report released on Wednesday details some of the ways people in need could benefit if corporate giant Amazon and its mega-rich founder, Jeff Bezos, were forced to pay their fair share of ‘taxes.
Despite a record $ 20 billion in national profits amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Amazon’s federal tax rate was only 9% in 2020, which is significantly lower than the 22% tax rate paid by the average American worker.
According to According to Oxfam’s calculations, taxing Amazon at the current U.S. corporate rate of 21% would raise an additional $ 2.5 billion per year, which is enough to provide Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to 1.7 million Americans face hunger.
In addition, a wealth tax of 3% on Bezos’ $ 198 billion wealth would bring in $ 6 billion in income – enough to provide child care to 440,000 children under the age of four in the state of origin from Amazon, Washington.
Finally, a pandemic profits tax on Amazon would generate an additional $ 11 billion. This is enough to pay for 580 million coronavirus vaccines at the current average cost of $ 19 per dose, although “the prices can and should be much lower to make vaccination of the world possible,” Oxfam noted.
“This country will never achieve a fair and equitable recovery from Covid-19 if we continue to have a system in which businesses and the rich get richer while everyone else is left behind,” mentionned Gina Cummings, vice president of alliances, advocacy and policy for Oxfam America.
“This past year has called on all Americans to make unprecedented sacrifices,” Cummings added. “But a small number of people – namely corporate CEOs and high net worth investors – have benefited from this pandemic. More infuriatingly, these same rich corporations and wealthy executives did not contribute their fair share of taxes. “
Like the others corporate giants, Amazon slashed its tax bill by “taking advantage of loopholes in the US tax code that allow the company to treat wealthy, well-paying executives with stock options as a tax write-off; carry forward of operating losses from previous years; and the benefits of parking in tax havens, ”explained Oxfam.
Bezos, who is now worth nearly $ 200 billion, has become even more “astronomically wealthy” thanks to Amazon’s “skyrocketing profits” over the past year, Oxfam said. In fact, Bezos’ wealth has increased by $ 85 billion since the start of the pandemic. With his earnings from the coronavirus crisis, Oxfam noted, Bezos could afford to give each of Amazon’s 1.3 million workers a bonus of $ 65,000 while still retaining the $ 113 billion fortune he owned before March 2020.
– Oliver Gottfried (@olivergottfried) May 12, 2021
Oxfam pointed out that President Joe Biden American employment plan and Plan of American families– The White House’s two-pronged approach to improving the country’s physical and social infrastructure while implementing progressive tax reforms – “would go a long way to defeat the rules” that have enabled so many corporations and wealthy individuals underreporting their income and avoid paying billions dollars in taxes.
The American employment plan would have raise the corporate tax rate, close overseas tax loopholes and discourage outsourcing jobs. The plan of American families would have increase the marginal tax rate for households with higher annual incomes $ 400,000, increase the rate of capital gains for the richest Americans and provide the IRS with sorely needed resources to crack down on tax evasion.
The two legislative proposals aim to invest trillions to create jobs in the face of the climate crisis and improve childcare and other public goods the country needs.
“These proposals are vitally important to reducing growing inequalities and ensuring that the US tax system rewards work, not wealth. Congress should move quickly to pass them into law, ”Cummings said. “But the proposals do not go far enough to resolve the inequality crisis and fund the essential services that the Covid-19 pandemic needs.”
Although Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen has offers a global minimum tax, Oxfam said the Biden administration’s plan fails to “equalize the tax rate that businesses pay on their U.S. and foreign income, which continues to push U.S. businesses to relocate American taxes and jobs ”.
To resolve this dilemma, Oxfam said, “Congress must level the playing field by taxing foreign profits of multinational corporations at the same rate as US profits.”
In addition, Oxfam has urged lawmakers to adopt a pandemic profit tax to ensure that companies, like Amazon, that have directly benefited from the pandemic are taxed fairly on their windfall earnings. Last August, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced legislation that would levy a 60% tax on “obscene wealth gains” made by a few hundred billionaires during the pandemic.
Finally, according to Oxfam, lawmakers should adopt a wealth tax of 2% on fortunes over $ 50 million and 3% on fortunes over $ 1 billion. In March, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Presented legislation to do just that.
With so much society wealth control by such a small handful, Cummings characterized a wealth tax as a “vital tool” to begin to tackle the economic, racial and gender inequalities that “permeate American society, including in our tax code.” .