Oxfam on Covid inequality, tax wealthy to pay for vaccines, defend local weather

A pedestrian wearing a face mask delivers food to a homeless man who died on March 23.

Tolga Akmen | AFP | Getty Images

The pandemic has made the rich richer while the income of the rest of the world – about 99% of humanity – has plummeted, according to a new Oxfam report titled “Inequality Kills”.

The wealth of the world’s 10 richest men has doubled from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion during the pandemic, according to the global charity said on Monday.

“It has never been more important to right the violent injustices of this obscene inequality by reclaiming the power and extreme wealth of the elites, including through taxes – to put that money back into the real economy and save lives,” Gabriela said , Executive Director of Oxfam International Bucher.

A 99% windfall tax on the pandemic profits of the world’s 10 richest men would raise enough money to pay for vaccines for the world — and fund various social measures for more than 80 countries, the report said.

Billionaire wealth has risen more sharply since the start of Covid compared to the past 14 years, and a new billionaire has been minted every 26 hours since the pandemic began, Oxfam said.

The CEOs of the Covid vaccine developers Modern and BioNTech earned billions in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

At the same time, the vast majority of the population is worse off after losing income during Covid-19, and 160 million more people fell into poverty, the press release said.

windfall tax

One way to “recoup” the huge gains billionaires made during the crisis is to tax the money billionaires have made since the pandemic began, the report said.

“A one-time windfall tax of 99% on the wealth gains from Covid-19 for the 10 richest men alone would generate $812 billion,” the report said.

“These resources could be enough to produce enough vaccines for the entire world and to fill funding gaps in climate action, universal health and social protection, and efforts to combat gender-based violence in over 80 countries,” it said.

If these ten men lost 99.999 percent of their wealth tomorrow, they would still be richer than 99 percent of everyone on the planet.

Gabriella books

Managing Director, Oxfam International

Even after taxes, the world’s 10 richest men would still be billionaires and, as a group, have increased their wealth by $8 billion since the pandemic began, the report said.

“If these ten men lost 99.999 percent of their wealth tomorrow, they would still be richer than 99 percent of all people on this planet,” said Bucher.

Beyond a one-time windfall tax, governments must also introduce or increase permanent wealth and capital taxes to “fundamentally and radically reduce wealth inequality,” the report says.

The Oxfam report was released ahead of this week’s virtual meetings of the World Economic Forum, where world leaders will discuss global challenges.