Wealth Inequality, Trade Agreements & How a Progressive Annual Wealth Tax Could Help Promote Economic Democracy
Tonight, we feature a January 17, 2023 report by the Institute for Policy Studies entitled, Report: “Extreme Wealth: The Growing Number of People With Extreme Wealth and What an Annual Wealth Tax Could Raise” by Chuck Collins, Omar Ocampo. Joining us on Bringing Light Into Darkness is co author Omar Ocampo. Omar Ocampo is a researcher for the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies. His work focuses on wealth inequality, housing and the politics of Colombia. He is currently in the process of establishing a working group at IPS on Artificial Intelligence and its effects on labor and inequality.
Tonight, our show focus is on world wealth inequality, trade agreements that promote it and ways to reverse the destructive direction gross wealth inequality is taking the world. We review the corporate advantages that the Transpacific Partnership Trade (TPP) Agreement that the Obama Administration sought to fast track sought to implement that prioritized and gave corporation profiteering leverage over the will of governments in the countries they operate in, with respect to rules governing behavior. These types of trade agreements have helped to maintain and expand wealth inequality.
Our show guest walks us through a solution oriented progressive tax plan that the report he co authored details. Our guest argues that a tax on the ultra-rich would not impact their spending patterns or retirement. Instead, it would be just a slight constraint on their rates of accumulation of wealth. Such a progressive tax rate would raise $580B annually in the US. As of 2022 wealth data they evaluated those at 5m or more would be taxed at 2%, those at 50m or more would be taxed at 3% and those in billionaire class would be taxed at 5%. The result would be not only an annual generation of $580B in the US alone but worldwide it would generate an annual amount of 1.7B that could be used to alleviate worldwide poverty and extreme poverty rates and set in motion a system of economic democracy.
Our guest shares that “historically speaking, there is actually a direct correlation between lower tax rates and higher concentrations of wealth which then (further) exasperates wealth inequality”, and that, In the US some “1.5m people own $5m or more and when you add up all that wealth it equals some $28T”. Since 2012 – 2022 the richest 1% have been the beneficiaries of a wealth increase that has been some 19x greater than the bottom 50%.
What promotes wealth disparity at the macro level includes trade agreements such as TPP. This helps explain why it was largely negotiated in private by a select few that did not represent majority interests but instead lined up mainly in line with corporate interests. Please join us.