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Jeff Bezos would pay over $5 billion a year under Warren’s wealth tax

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, speaks to a group of Amazon employees that are veterans during an Amazon Veterans Day celebration on Monday, November 12, 2018.

Leonard Ortiz | Digital First Media | Getty Images

Jeff Bezos would owe $5.7 billion in taxes for 2020 under the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act proposed by a group of Senate and House Democrats on Monday.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and others unveiled their proposed wealth tax Monday, saying it would raise trillions in much needed revenue and help reduce a wealth divide that has only grown wider during the pandemic. The tax would be a 2% annual levy on wealth over $50 million and 3% on wealth over $1 billion.

Warren said the tax would only affect the wealthiest 100,000 American families — or the top 0.05% — and would raise about $3 trillion over 10 years. She said the added revenue would go to help pay for child care, education infrastructure and clean energy. It is essentially the same tax that Warren championed during her campaign, when the slogan “two cents” became a popular rallying cry at her rallies among those who supported the tax. Warren often argues that since the wealth tax rate is 2%, “it’s only two cents on every dollar after $50 million.”

Accelerating wealth gap

Warren said the tax is even more urgent during the Covid crisis as it has exposed and accelerated America’s wealth gap.

“We do understand the direction we’ve been going. This pandemic has created more billionaires. The people at the top are not barely hanging on by their fingernails,” Warren said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Tuesday.

Critics say the tax may not be constitutional and would be easily gamed by the wealthy. Most European countries have abandoned wealth taxes since they raised less revenue than expected and were easily avoided by millionaires and billionaires.

Billionaire tax bills

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