Report: Rich Got Richer, Workers Left Behind During Pandemic

Eric Galatas | Public News Service
Billionaire wealth has increased by $2.7 billion per day, while more than 1.7 billion people live in countries where their wages, adjusted for inflation, have declined. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

The world’s richest 1% took home almost twice as much wealth as the bottom 99% combined during the pandemic, according to a new Oxfam International report.

Morris Pearl, chair of the group Patriotic Millionaires, said current tax codes are not cutting it anymore. The rich keep getting richer while people who work for a living are making daily sacrifices on essentials such as food, which is not good for families, or for investors who want to make money.

“Because money does not trickle down, money trickles up,” Pearl pointed out. “As people pay their bills, for their iPhone and their rent every single month, that is how rich people make money and get richer. And if people don’t have enough money to do that, that’s not good for any of us.”

The report said a 5% tax on the world’s multimillionaires could raise enough money to lift 2 billion people out of poverty. Wyoming tax codes are pointed in the opposite direction. The state does not tax corporate or individual income. Wyoming has a higher sales tax, which falls hardest on low-wage earners, than at least forty other states. And only eleven states collect lower property taxes.

While families in Wyoming struggled with rising gas and grocery prices, the report found profits for 95 top energy and food corporations more than doubled in 2022, with 84% of those gains going directly into the pockets of wealthy shareholders.

Pearl argued people who earn their living by working for wages, with taxes taken right out of their paychecks, have been left behind.

“The system is rigged against them, and we have to unrig the system,” Pearl stressed. “We have to change the system so they are not holding the bag for everything that the government needs to do. And we need to make the rich pay some of the taxes too.”

Three-quarters of the world’s governments plan on making nearly 8 trillion dollars in cuts to public-sector funding, including health care and education, over the next five years.

Pearl noted taxes make it possible to provide for the nation’s common defense, hire firefighters and police, and build schools, hospitals and highways.

“And things like that have, for the history of this nation, been done by people putting their resources together, and doing things together that they just can’t each do individually by themselves,” Pearl added.