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So far, when it comes to stimulus checks we’ve seen a few different types of proposals.
On the far left, we’ve seen proposals for continual monthly payments of around $2,000. These proposals were far too expensive to ever gain traction within Congress and so they have not been given that much attention.
Instead, a lot of the proponents of continual payments have transitioned into supporting one more round of $1,200 stimulus checks.
On the right, we’ve seen proposals containing no stimulus checks and we recently saw a White House initiative that called for $600 stimulus checks.
And then from lawmakers on both the right and left, we’ve seen a push for the standard $1,200 stimulus check to go out once again.
But to this day there is still not a clear agreement on how or when more direct payments should go out.
But some people are now building the case for America’s billionaires to send out $3,000 stimulus checks to the public.
The logic is that the 651 billionaires in the US have seen their collective wealth grow by more than $1 trillion over the past nine months.
In normal circumstances, that type of growth would probably not garner so much attention.
But it is extremely difficult to ignore the reality that during this pandemic, a lot of Americans are in a much worse spot than they were nine months ago and many billionaires have seen their net worth grow substantially.
And we’re not talking about Americans just losing discretionary income, we’re talking about millions of people struggling to eat or pay for shelter.
According to MarketWatch, the interesting thing to note here is that if these billionaires were to share their “pandemic profits” they could give everybody in the country a one time $3,000 stimulus check and still be wealthier than they were back in March.
Now it could be argued that the corporations that many of these billionaires run/own, already pay a huge amount in taxes to the government and account for a nice chunk of the government’s revenue.
So in effect they have already helped to fund the stimulus checks that have gone out and any stimulus checks that will go out in the future.
But this new argument is focusing on the billionaires’ personal wealth.
Billionaires with high incomes pay an enormous amount in taxes but wealth is not taxed the same as income.
So it’s not like every one of these billionaires is already paying outrageous amounts in income taxes.
It’s also no secret that there are ways to (legally) avoid taxes via things like real estate investments, complex accounting methods, etc.
“As tens of millions of Americans suffer from the health and economic ravages of this pandemic, a few hundred billionaires add to their massive fortunes,” Americans for Tax Fairness Frank Clemente said in a statement.
“Their pandemic profits are so immense that America’s billionaires could pay for a major COVID relief bill and still not lose a dime of their pre-virus riches.”
I don’t think that there should be any requirement that a wealthy individual be forced to cover stimulus checks for others but I think there is something to be said about a moral obligation to help others, especially if such an act has a minimal financial impact on your wealth.
This is especially true for billionaires who are able to essentially avoid paying income tax.
But some feel like there should be an emergency with tax to get these funds from our nation’s richest.
Clemente said it was “time to levy an emergency wealth tax on billionaire profiteers and direct the funds to offset the cost of the nation’s health-care costs.”
Because many of these billionaires already pay so much in taxes (from the businesses they worked hard to create) and many of them are already extremely charitable, I’m not sure I can get on board with an emergency wealth tax, but perhaps some type of organized movement could rally these billionaires to act.
It’s just really hard to stomach the fact that millions of people are struggling to even put food on the table right now while a select group of billionaires are steadily increasing their personal wealth.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.