Economy Jake Johnson Politics

 U.S. Billionaires Saw $1 Trillion Wealth Boom in 2021 Alone

A new analysis shows that Sen. Ron Wyden's proposed tax on billionaires "would be more than enough to cover the expansion of the child tax credit in the Build Back Better Act."
Piles of $100 bills

By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

A new analysis out Tuesday shows that the nearly 750 billionaires in the United States saw their combined wealth soar by $1 trillion in 2021, a 25% jump that—if taxed—would be enough to fully fund major priorities in Democrats’ stalled Build Back Better package.

According to fresh number-crunching by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk led the billionaire pandemic profiteers with $118.2 billion in wealth gains last year, a 77% increase from 2020. Musk’s “single-year wealth gain alone,” ATF found, “would more than pay for Build Back Better’s $109 billion plan to offer six years of free preschool for six million children.”

Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, meanwhile, saw their net worths grow by $1.4 billion and $18.3 billion, respectively.

U.S. billionaires now collectively own $5.1 trillion in wealth, ATF’s analysis finds. By contrast, according to the latest Federal Reserve data, the bottom 50% of the U.S. population combined owns $3.4 trillion in wealth.

“While 2021 was a year of frustrated hopes and tighter budgets for most Americans, it was another banner year for the nation’s billionaires,” ATF executive director Frank Clemente said in a statement.

Crucially, under current law, the billionaires’ massive windfalls in 2021 will go untaxed because they consist of unrealized capital gains—a massive untapped revenue source.

ATF noted Tuesday that enactment of Sen. Ron Wyden’s (D-Ore.) Billionaires Income Tax proposal—which would subject the unrealized capital gains of the ultra-wealthy to taxation—could bring in enough revenue to fully fund a one-year extension of the boosted child tax credit, a program that lapsed last month due to Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) opposition.

Manchin is reportedly demanding that the proposed one-year extension of the CTC boost—which has lifted millions of children out of poverty—be removed entirely from the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act or more strictly means tested to limit eligibility.

But Clemente argued Tuesday that Congress “shouldn’t be looking to cut Build Back Better investments that will help working families afford healthcare, child care, housing, and much more.”

“It instead should start taxing the spiraling wealth gains of America’s handful of bloated billionaires to pay for those investments,” he added.

The Washington Post reported last month that Manchin recently told the White House he would “support some version of a tax targeting billionaire wealth as part of President Biden’s Build Back Better economic agenda.”

But the West Virginia Democrat has not publicly offered any specific details on the kind of tax he would be willing to endorse as he continues to block progress on the Build Back Better Act, which he falsely claims would fuel rising inflation.

“Don’t tell us we ‘can’t afford’ to pass Build Back Better and lower costs for the working families struggling most through the pandemic,” ATF tweeted Tuesday. “Just make billionaires pay their fair share in taxes.”


  1. Oh. The world’s other billionaires? Those 38,000,000 millionaires too? They off the hook? Again, we are the 80 percent? The rest of classless Amerikkka? Be damned. The USA’s 1 percenters? The 5 percenters? The 10 percenters? Trust funders? Professional Managerial Class? All the Little Big Man/Woman Eichmanns? Dream hoarders? Off the hook for their money hoarder schemes?

  2. Why should the billionaires pay for infrastructure they don’t use?

    They don’t live in the US they live in Richistan and fly everywhere in private jets and helicopters. As they own Richistan if they paid tax in that country, they would only be paying it to themselves. It doesn’t make sense.

    Leave them alone. They have persecuted and exploited lots of working people to get where they are, and that ain’t easy. You have to find the right psychopathic managers to do that, and they are only one percent of the population.

    1. Read this Zionist’s ideology. Now, he is one of the Chosen Elites, and his Space Science is all about follow the money, follow the military, follow his ego. This is the problem at the core with billionaires and multimillionaires — they always have some fool with a hyper brain as the leading edge, but in the end, those brains are just as rotten to the core when it comes to empire, space race, wars, and, this fellow’s son was questioning Judaism and the father wanted none of it.

      It sounds benign, but . . . they all get paid through war macines and military industrial offensive weapon complex —

      Kaplan, 66, has spent a career in aerospace, from a decade at the US Naval Research Lab in Washington where he worked on space-based radars meant to counter Soviet ICBMs, to NASA, Ball Aerospace (the Colorado company that built Webb’s now-famous honeycomb mirror), Boeing to work on planetary probes, and finally, in a plot twist, a bittersweet five-year sojourn in Israel, where he became a citizen and worked closely with SpaceIL, the Israel Space Agency and the Israeli aerospace industry.

      Kaplan moved back to the US in 2015, where he has worked on new space missions and weather satellite systems at companies like Raytheon. He is now a vice president at Belcan, a major American engineering firm and government contractor.

  3. common dreams fully supports covid fascism that increased US wealth/income disparities. the most admired institutions in US: military and police….there is no reason the ruling class should pay when the peasant fully support invasions of Vietnam/Iraq –80+%, Afghanistan–90%
    free enterprise is a national religion….social forces are never addressed…the Marxian social philosopher Richard Sennet described the obsession w JFK money and sex life in 1974 as “mobilized narcissism, passivity, ideological senility…and today the same is observed w trump.slightly less .less fascist than both Obama and biden


    They have several valuable reasons for existence, but paying for things isn’t one of them.

    Learn Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) for cripes sake!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: