Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

protester holds a sign that says I paid my fair share, you should too

Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) on Friday introduced legislation that would impose a progressive tax on the estates of the richest Americans. (Photo: Michael Fleshman/Flickr/cc)

House Dems Take Aim at 'Trust Fund Babies' With Estate Tax Designed to Combat Obscene Wealth Inequality

"The ever-widening gap between the ultra-rich and the rest of us has reached alarming proportions and demands a strong legislative response."

Jessica Corbett

California Congressman Jimmy Gomez on Friday introduced legislation in the Democrat-controlled U.S. House that aims to address "our country's rapidly increasing wealth inequality by strengthening the estate tax and ensuring the wealthiest among us pay their fair share."

"Trust fund babies who have done nothing to earn their wealth besides being born into the right family have no right to pay a lower tax rate on their millions than hard-working Americans do on the income that they work for."
—Charlie Simmons, Patriotic Millionaires

The For the 99.8% Act would impose a progressive tax on the estates of the richest Americans. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, introduced the companion bill in the Republican-controlled Senate in January.

Under the bill, "the families of all 588 billionaires in America would owe up to $2.2 trillion in estate taxes, amounting to revenue that can be used to address critical needs for working families and the most vulnerable among us," according to Gomez's office.

"The ever-widening gap between the ultra-rich and the rest of us has reached alarming proportions and demands a strong legislative response," Gomez, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement. "No longer can we allow this structural power imbalance—one where the billionaire-class hoards the very wealth working families helped to create—define our nation's values and priorities."

Gomez also thanked Sanders "for joining me in our shared mission to level the economic playing field for the working-class and transform our economy into one that works for every American."

"No longer can we allow this structural power imbalance... define our nation's values and priorities."
—Rep. Jimmy Gomez

"We are facing levels of inequality not seen since the Gilded Age of the robber barons, where the top one-tenth of one percent owns about as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent," Sanders said Friday. "The richest 400 billionaires pay lower taxes than everyone else. In my view, this obscene inequality in wealth and political power is not compatible with a democratic society."

The White House hopeful added that "I am proud that Rep. Gomez is leading three dozen members of the House in introducing the For The 99.8% Act to tax today's dynasty trusts and curb their power, while raising trillions of dollars for the essential programs we need as a country."

The House bill's 37 original co-sponsors include Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) and Mark Pocan (Wis.) as well as the four freshmen congresswomen collectively known as "the Squad," Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.).

The bill is also backed by 80 national organizations that sent a letter of support to Congress Friday. The letter highlighted various provisions of the bill and pointed out that "the public overwhelmingly favors raising taxes on the wealthy—typically by a margin of 2 to 1."

"In my view, this obscene inequality in wealth and political power is not compatible with a democratic society."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

Americans for Tax Fairness executive director Frank Clemente, whose group signed on to the letter, called the legislation "a critical step" toward creating "an economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy few."

"It will raise well over $300 billion," Clemente noted, "that can be used to help people afford healthcare, improve our schools, and rebuild crumbling infrastructure across the country."

Patriotic Millionaires also signed the support letter. Retired tech executive Charlie Simmons, a member of the group, said in a statement that "as a millionaire who will end up paying the estate tax, I say that we should expand it."

"Tax my estate," said Simmons. "Trust fund babies who have done nothing to earn their wealth besides being born into the right family have no right to pay a lower tax rate on their millions than hard-working Americans do on the income that they work for."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

Abortion Rights Defenders Applaud Judge's Block on Utah 'Trigger Ban'

"Today is a win, but it is only the first step in what will undoubtedly be a long and difficult fight," said one pro-choice advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


Scores Feared Dead and Wounded as Russian Missiles Hit Ukraine Shopping Center

"People just burned alive," said Ukraine's interior minister, while the head of the Poltava region stated that "it is too early to talk about the final number of the killed."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biodiversity Risks Could Persist for Decades After Global Temperature Peak

One study co-author said the findings "should act as a wake-up call that delaying emissions cuts will mean a temperature overshoot that comes at an astronomical cost to nature and humans that unproven negative emission technologies cannot simply reverse."

Jessica Corbett ·


Amnesty Report Demands Biden Take Action to End Death Penalty

"The world is waiting for the USA to do what almost 100 countries have achieved during this past half-century—total abolition of the death penalty," said the group.

Julia Conley ·


Pointing to 'Recently Obtained Evidence,' Jan. 6 Panel Calls Surprise Tuesday Hearing

The announcement came less than a week after the House panel delayed new hearings until next month, citing a "deluge" of fresh evidence.

Common Dreams staff ·

Common Dreams Logo