Lesson plan; How we tax the richest

A comparison between the USA and Russia

A guesstimate of the wealth of Russia’s oligarchs

The authors used national economic data, household surveys, tax data on high-income earners available since 2008, and wealth rankings to estimate public, private, and offshore wealth and form a picture of the changes from the Soviet period. A discrepancy between the growth of trade surpluses and that of net foreign assets, for example, signals capital flight.

American billionaires

The wealthiest 1% of Americans controlled about $41.52 trillion in the first quarter, according to Federal Reserve data released Monday. Yet the bottom 50% of Americans only controlled about $2.62 trillion collectively, which is roughly 16 times less than those in the top 1%.

President Biden’s budget, which came out yesterday, proposes a new minimum tax of 20 percent on households worth more than $100 million — which the White House says will reduce federal budget deficits by $1 trillion over a decade. The tax would apply only to the top 0.01 percent — the richest 1 percent of the richest 1 percent. Half of the expected $1 trillion in revenue would come from 704 households worth $1 billion or more.

If enacted, it would effectively prevent the wealthiest sliver of America from paying lower rates than middle-class families, while helping to generate revenues to fuel Biden’s domestic ambitions and keep the deficit in check relative to the U.S. economy. Read the rest of the article here:  Robert Reich

Lesson plan

  1. Watch the video below and read the two articles quoted above.
  2. Write a short commentary for a newspaper where you describe the situation. You can listen to the article by Robert Reich.


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