Below is the letter we will send to members of the 117th United States Congress:
As Black and Low-Income Workers Are Being Laid Off, Ultra-Millionaires Are Getting Tax Breaks. #WealthTax
Folks are hurting. The COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled the glaring inequalities of this country as millions of Black, Disabled, and low-income workers have been furloughed, laid off, and provided just $1800 to weather this economic crisis. Nearly 30% of Black households are battling food insecurity. And when the national eviction moratorium ends on March 31st, up to 60% of all Black renters will be at-risk of homelessness. As Black and low-income families have struggled to make ends meet, U.S. billionaires have grown $1.3 trillion richer since March 2020 and have amassed a combined wealth of $4.3 trillion total. In the absence of robust economic reform or comprehensive COVID-19 relief packages, such extreme wealth inequality is only expected to worsen.
But a wealth tax can change all of that. On Monday, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) unveiled legislation that would apply “a 2% tax to individual net worth above $50 million and an additional 1% surcharge above $1 billion”—leaving the tax rates of 99.95% of Americans untouched. A one-time tax on America’s 651 billionaires, alone, could provide $3,400 stimulus checks to 331 million hurting Americans. An additional $3,400 stimulus check would temporarily halt eviction, offset past due utility bills and/or allow parents to put food on the table. And a recurring wealth tax on all multimillionaires, could bring in nearly $3 trillion and uplift Black and low-income families from poverty. From an expansion to the K-12 Public Education Budget to the development of affordable housing grants, higher education and economic stability would be accessible to all. It’s time for Congress to do what we’ve hired them to: enact a #WealthTax and invest in Black and low-income communities.
The wealthiest Americans have built their wealth on the backs of Black people and low-wage earners. Each year, U.S. employers steal $8 billion from workers’ paychecks by denying workers their legal right to wages, employment benefits and tips. Black workers are three times more likely to experience wage theft than white workers; while low-wage workers experience minimum wage violations at higher rates across all demographics. According to a survey conducted by the National Employment Law Project, 4 in 10 workers that filed a complaint against their employer or attempted to form a labor union experienced one or more forms of illegal retaliation. Every day, Black and low-wage earners—disproportionately deemed “essential”—work long hours to provide for their families while wealthy CEOs reap the fruits of their labor.
Here is the Petition:
Dear Members of the 117th U.S. Congress,Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Congress has made clear that they work for corporations and the ultra-rich, as opposed to Black and working families. The CARES Act sent some Americans one $1,200 check, but provided a $135 billion tax break for 43,000 millionaires. And while essential workers are risking their lives to power this country, none of the COVID-Relief packages have included hazard pay.Due, in great part, to the failure of the U.S. Congress to enact robust economic reform, the wealth gap has been exacerbated by the economic recession brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. While 10 million Americans are unemployed and 35 million are hungry, the country’s 651 billionaires have grown $1.3 trillion wealthier.But wealth should not be concentrated in the hands of few, especially as others struggle to climb above the poverty line. We demand that you vote to pass the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act and actively work toward closing the Black-white wealth gap in the future.