Bernie Sanders pushes tax that'd cost Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg billions

Several Democratic senators want to hit billionaires with a onetime 60% tax on wealth gains made during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
Sean knows far too much about Marvel, DC and Star Wars, and poured this knowledge into recaps and explainers on CNET. He also worked on breaking news, with a passion for tech, video game and culture.
Expertise Culture, Video Games, Breaking News
Sean Keane
2 min read

Sen. Bernie Sanders says he doesn't want to allow "the very rich to get much richer while everyone else gets poorer and poorer."

Getty Images

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos , Tesla boss Elon Musk and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg would have to shell out tens of billions of dollars in taxes under a bill introduced by Democratic Sens.  Bernie Sanders , Ed Markey and Kirsten Gillibrand on Thursday. The Make Billionaires Pay Act would impose a onetime 60% tax on wealth gains made by billionaires during the coronavirus pandemic.

The emergency tax would apply to the period between March 18 and the beginning of 2021 and would be used to cover necessary health care expenses of the uninsured and underinsured for a year (including prescription drugs).

The proposal comes a week after Amazon reported that its revenue rose 40%, to $88.9 billion, in the second quarter of 2020 (the highest percentage increase in two years). Tesla reported a net $104 million of income, its fourth consecutive profitable quarter, and Facebook reported revenue of $18.69 billion, beating Wall Street expectations.

Coronavirus in pictures: Scenes from around the world

See all photos

The legislation would see Bezos, America's richest person, pay a onetime wealth tax of $42.8 billion. It'd cost Musk $27.5 billion, and Zuckerberg would pay $22.8 billion. Walmart founders the Walton family would be hit with a $12.9 billion tax bill.

"At a time of enormous economic pain and suffering, we have a fundamental choice to make," Sanders said in a statement. "We can continue to allow the very rich to get much richer while everyone else gets poorer and poorer. Or we can tax the winnings a handful of billionaires made during the pandemic to improve the health and well-being of tens of millions of Americans."

Neither Amazon, Tesla nor Facebook immediately responded to requests for comment.

Watch this: Congress seeks answers from Amazon on use of internal data to gain competitive advantage