"Imagine if, instead of decking out Kim Kardashian's office, billions went to homeless services providers trying to keep unhoused people alive in freezing winter storms," said one Capitol Hill staffer.
In recent days, TikTok users representing a wide range of professions and lifestyles have taken part in the viral "of course" trend, sharing relatable habits and quirks in humorous videos—but socialite Kim Kardashian's entry left U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden with just one takeaway on Friday.
"It's time for my billionaires income tax," said the Oregon Democrat, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, after seeing the media personality's video.
In the one-minute TikTok video, Kardashian gives viewers a tour of her office, where she has her "beauty campaigns on loop on a big TV wall," 3D models of her private jet and her brain on her desk, and a tanning bed, among other items.
The law would require people whose net worth is over $1 billion—roughly 700 people in the U.S., including Kardashian—to pay taxes on the gains in their wealth each year, "just like workers pay taxes on their paychecks each year," as Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) explained.
The wealth of the richest people in the U.S. skyrocketed by 57%, or $1.7 trillion, in the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic. White House economists found in 2022 that the wealthiest 400 American households paid an average effective tax rate of just over 8% between 2010 and 2018, when their stock gains were counted as income.
"The average individual income tax rate for all taxpayers was 13.3% in 2019," said ATF. "That means billionaires on average are paying lower tax rates than middle-class workers like teachers, nurses, and firefighters."
The tax would raise $557 billion over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, and the revenue could be used to make childcare, healthcare, and education more affordable for millions of working families.
U.S. President Joe Biden supports the proposal, as do nearly two-thirds of U.S. voters.
Madison Moskowitz, an economic adviser to Wyden, noted that Kardashian posted her video as hundreds of thousands of unhoused Americans are facing heightened safety risks amid freezing-cold temperatures across much of the country.
"Imagine if, instead of decking out Kim Kardashian's office," said Moskowitz, "billions [of dollars] went to homeless services providers trying to keep unhoused people alive in freezing winter storms."