Americans for Tax Fairness reports on a new website, Billionaires by the Numbers, to track the growth in riches of the ultrawealthy and their influence.
The website includes a state-by-state report on billionaires, familiar names in the case of Arkansas — Walton, Tyson, Hunt, Stephens. (I believe Alice Walton is considered a Texas resident.) Said the Tax Fairness group:
A new website launched today provides in-depth insights into the startling reality of America’s billionaires—their growth in numbers and fortunes over recent decades, staggering real-time net worth, and growing political influence. “Billionaires by the Numbers” tracks the fortunes of U.S. billionaires and is particularly vital right now for a nation confronting long-standing economic injustice brought to light by disease, recession and racial oppression.
Utilizing Forbes’ billionaires data, the website reveals that as of March, 2020, the “billionaires’ club” has grown nine-fold over the past 30 years, to 614; their collective net worth was a startling $3 trillion; and in the 2016 and 2018 federal election cycles they made a combined $1.3 billion in campaign contributions. Their campaign contributions ballooned from under 1% in the 2010 cycle, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, to nearly 10% in the 2018 cycle.
A joint project of Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies – Inequality Program, the website was the basis of two recent reports on the disconcerting growth of billionaire fortunes during the coronavirus pandemic that garnered widespread media attention.
A spotlight on billionaires meets the political moment because it suggests an answer to our economic and racial failings. Fair-share taxes on the almost exclusively white economic elite, beginning with billionaires, would raise the revenue necessary both to solve our immediate crises and in the longer term build an economy and society that work for all of us.
The governor of Arkansas thinks the billionaires need a further state income tax break, so don’t hold your breath for more fairness here.