On Monday, President Biden proposed a budget for the upcoming fiscal year that would tax households worth over $100 million 20 percent not only on income, but also on unrealized gains in liquid assets such as stocks and bonds.
The tax hits only the richest of the rich—fewer than 20,000 American households—in a plan that the White House says would guarantee $360 billion in revenue over ten years, so it’s not likely dipping into the wallets of anyone you know.
But who will be stung by Biden’s wealth tax? Publicity-hounding local billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos come to mind. As Quartz reports, people like the Tesla founder and the Amazon boss have much of their wealth concentrated in public stocks which aren’t currently taxed until they’re sold off. Under Biden’s proposal, however, these assets would be taxable even if they haven’t been sold, making for quite an excruciating tax day for the nation’s fabulously well-to-do.
While Musk is worth a reported $256 billion, a full $250 billion of that wealth is tied up in stocks. So, assuming 100 percent of Musk’s stocks are taxable, when Biden’s collectors come collecting, Elon would be in Dutch for $50 billion, Quartz calculates.
Forever-in-second-place Bezos, meanwhile, has accumulated $190 billion in financial worth, $174 billion of which is in stocks. That would leave the Amazon prince owing $35 billion to the feds.
Other notable moneybags who could be in line for a good soaking include Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who would have to cough up $11 billion under the Biden plan, investment codger Warren Buffett at $26 billion, and glitchy Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who would owe $16 billion if the country ever decided to tax the obscenely rich.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has already expressed his eagerness to kill the plan, saying, “You can’t tax something that’s not earned.”
We’ll leave it to the experts to parse that one, Joe.
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