Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

 Michael Dell, America’s 17th-richest man. (Photo: Flickr)

Michael Dell, America’s 17th-richest man. (Photo: Flickr)

For Dell’s Billionaire CEO, Taxing the Ultra-Rich is a Joke

Michael Dell falsely argues that top marginal tax rates as high as 70 percent have never worked

Sarah Anderson

 by Inequality.org

At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a panel moderator asked Michael Dell, America’s 17th-richest man, what he thought about the idea of raising the top marginal tax rate to 70 percent.

This idea has been in the headlines since Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez floated it in a 60 Minutes interview on January 6 as a way to pay for a Green New Deal.

The Davos panel found the question hilarious. When the laughing died down, Dell, the founder and CEO of Dell Technologies, dismissed the idea out of hand, claiming it would harm U.S. economic growth.

Name a country where that has worked, ever,” the mega-billionaire said.

Dell knows a lot about computers, but he doesn’t seem to know much about history. Otherwise he’d know that one country where such a top marginal tax rate that high — and even higher — has worked is the United States.

Back in the 1960s, our top marginal tax rate ranged from 70 percent to 91 percent. That was also the decade when our country had its highest average economic growth rate.

Back in the 1960s, our top marginal tax rate ranged from 70 percent to 91 percent. That was also the decade when our country had its highest average economic growth rate.

More importantly, it was an era when workers generally shared in the country’s prosperity. Since the 1970s, wages for most U.S. workers have flatlined, even as productivity has steadily increased. But back in the 1950s and 1960s, wage growth kept pace with productivity.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Fatal Film Set Shooting Followed Outcry by Union Crew Members Over Safety Protocols

"When union members walk off a set about safety concerns, maybe 'hiring scabs' isn’t the solution you think it is."

Julia Conley ·


New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Catastrophic and Irreparable Harm' to Wolves Averted as Wisconsin Judge Cancels Hunt

"We are heartened by this rare instance of reason and democracy prevailing in state wolf policy," said one conservation expert.

Brett Wilkins ·


West Virginia Constituents Decry 'Immorality' of Joe Manchin

"West Virginia has been locked into an economy that forces workers into low-wage jobs with no hope for advancement, and after decades of this our hope is dwindling," said one West Virginian. "The cuts that Sen. Manchin has negotiated into the agenda hurt our state."

Julia Conley ·


'Texans Deserved Better Than This': Supreme Court Leaves Abortion Ban in Place

The nation's high court set a date to hear a pair of legal challenges to the "horrific" restrictions.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo