Wall Street billionaires have escaped paying their fair share of taxes for decades, thanks to laws they themselves have had an outsize influence in shaping. This bill requiring the ultrarich to pay some tax on their wealth, which was too often accumulated through predatory business models that extracted wealth from workers and communities, is an important step forward for economic justice.
Sen. Warren and Rep. Jayapal’s Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act of 2021 could not be a more timely reminder that the United States needs serious policy changes to address massive wealth and income inequality. Wall Street is the second-largest source of billionaire wealth, after the technology industry. While 8 million Americans slipped into poverty and half a million lives were lost to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic — all with a disproportionately large impact on communities of color — the wealth of U.S. billionaires almost doubled, up $1.3 trillion.