Analysts Say Biden’s Billionaire Tax Bill Is ‘DOA’ — Are Millionaire or Corporate Taxes Possible?

State of the Union Address in Washington, US - 07 Feb 2023
Michael Brochstein / SOPA Images /

As expected, the economy was a big talking point during President Biden’s State of the Union address on Feb. 7. But Biden’s plans, in particular the proposed billionaire tax, are all but being shot down by both Congress and even corporate leaders who backed Biden in his presidential bid.

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Some have gone as far as to call the proposal — which would institute a minimum annual tax of 20% on income, as well as any gains in tradable assets for those with a net worth greater than $100 million — “DOA.”

It’s a term both billionaire investor Leon Cooperman and Signum Global chairman Charles Myers used when speaking to CNBC about the matter. Cooperman also took issue with the way he said Democrats mislead Americans on how billionaires pay into the system.

Myers believes there’s no life for the proposal in either arm of Congress. “Those tax increases will never get through a Republican House. Probably not even through a Democratic Senate,” he said. Analysts have noted that even Democrats will take issue with the idea of taxes on unrealized gains on assets (currently, shareholders are only taxed after they sell, allowing the shares to keep appreciating and borrowing against that value for spending money).

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A source close to a top Democratic leader told CNBC that after the State of the Union, text messages had been shared within the party featuring a skull and crossbones emoji and the word “Dead” in reference to Biden’s billionaire tax.

So, with the billionaire tax plan seemingly off the table, could a formal millionaire tax or corporate tax be proposed next? That’s what Forbes suggested could be the way forward.

“Pointing at billionaires as some magic solution ignores the number of millionaires,” according to Forbes. Citing data from Credit Suisse, there are an estimated 22 million people worth seven figures, leaving a lot of potential for tax revenue with that audience considering it’s much larger than the smaller billionaire class. In fact, even just enforcing a $2,000 tax from millionaires every year would net $44 billion annually, more than the $36 billion a year driven by a billionaire tax.

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Corporate taxes should also be mitigated to help the deficit, said Forbes, noting the record profits taken in by corporations every year even after paying the IRS. In a graph, Forbes showed that the amount paid in corporate taxes has largely stayed the same over the past several decades (currently around $273 billion) while profits have been on a sharp uptick in the same time period, evaluated at $2.6 trillion in 2021 alone.

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About the Author

Selena Fragassi joined in 2022, adding to her 15 years in journalism with bylines in Spin, Paste, Nylon, Popmatters, The A.V. Club, Loudwire, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine and others. She currently resides in Chicago with her rescue pets and is working on a debut historical fiction novel about WWII. She holds a degree in fiction writing from Columbia College Chicago.
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