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Oxfam urges ‘crack on billionaires’ policy as Davos opens

Oxfam urges ‘crack on billionaires’ policy as Davos opens

The number of billionaires should be halved by 2030 through higher taxes and other policies to make the world more equal, Oxfam said Monday as the world’s elite gathered in Davos.

The plea comes as the Swiss Alpine village hosts political leaders, chief executives and celebrities for the week-long World Economic Forum, which begins Monday.

In a report titled ‘Survival of the richest’, Oxfam said billionaire wealth had doubled in the past 10 years, with the wealthiest 1 per cent owned by the bottom 50 per cent 74 times that of humans.

The very rich got richer amid the cost of living crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic and the spike in food and energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the report said.

Billionaire wealth has surged by $2.7 billion a day since 2020, despite inflation outpacing the wages of at least 1.7 billion workers worldwide, Oxfam said.

It noted that food and energy companies more than doubled their profits last year.

Oxfam has called for taxation at rates that gradually redistribute wealth and reduce extreme inequality.

First, it says, “The world should halve wealth and the number of billionaires between now and 2030 by increasing taxes on the richest 1 percent and adopting other billionaire-hunting policies.”

These measures will return the wealth and number of billionaires to 2012 levels.

“The ultimate goal should be to go a step further and abolish billionaires altogether as part of a fairer and more equitable distribution of the world’s wealth,” it said.

Oxfam said higher taxes on dividends and a “one-off solidarity” wealth and windfall profits tax should be introduced to “stop profiteering in a crisis”.

It also called for a permanent tax increase on the richest 1%, taxing at least 60% of their labor and capital income.

Citing a report by US investigative news group ProPublica, Oxfam said many of the world’s wealthiest people paid almost no tax and that Tesla boss Elon Musk faced a “true tax rate” of just 100% between 2014 and 2018. 3.2 percent, while Amazon founder Jeff Bezos pays less than one percent.

In stark contrast, market traders in Uganda, which works with Oxfam, pay 40% tax on profits, the charity said.


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