Bernie Sanders’ new tax-hike plan hits corporations with high-paid CEOs
Sen. Bernard Sanders on Wednesday introduced legislation that would raise taxes for corporations whose CEOs make at least 50 times as much as their workers make on average.
Mr. Sanders, an avowed socialist from Vermont, unveiled the proposal from his new perch as chairman of the Budget Committee during a hearing on income inequality in America.
“The very, very rich are getting much richer while millions of Americans are struggling to put food on the table and meet their basic needs,” he said.
Calling the gap a “crisis,” Mr. Sanders said the income gap worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic and pointing to studies that show the nation’s billionaires such as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have made more than $1 trillion during the public health crisis.
Mr. Sanders‘ bid to close the gap between CEO and worker paychecks is part of a broader push by Democrats to raise taxes now that they control the White House and both chambers of Congress.
President Biden has promised that taxes will go up on the wealthy and corporations.
The Sanders plan to jack up taxes for companies with rich CEOs is unlikely to get Republican support, which is par for the course on tax hikes.
Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, questions whether the gap between rich and poor is growing. He citing figures showing that the wages of the bottom 25% in income have been growing faster than those in the top 25% since 2014.
Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor during the Clinton administration, disputed that at the hearing.
Mr. Toomey said the idea of a growing wealth gap is used to “justify various socialist policies and the redistribution of wealth.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the committee, said a Gallup poll that found Americans are far more concerned about the pandemic than the wealth gap.
“Most don’t think about how to take from someone else but how to get ahead,” he said.
But Mr. Graham agreed with Mr. Sanders about taking on Mr. Bezos, who turned down an invitation to appear at the hearing.
“Most of us don’t want a consolidation of wealth and power in the hands of the few,” Mr. Graham said. “The question for me is: have we let too much power lay in the hands of big tech.”
“Have we allowed the new technology to become the modern version of robber barons,” he said. “I don’t know if we need to break these up.”