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Senators Propose Huge, One-Time Tax on Billionaires' Gains During Pandemic

Under the terms of the bill, there would be a 60% tax on the wealth that billionaires have accrued since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ed Markey (D-Mass) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a bill this week called the "Make Billionaires Pay Act" that would levy a 60% tax on the "windfall wealth increases" billionaires have accrued during the pandemic. 

The Senators estimate that 467 billionaires have added $731 billion in wealth from March 18 through August 5 at the same time that 5.4 million Americans lost their health insurance and 50 million have applied for unemployment insurance. 

"The legislation I am introducing today will tax the obscene wealth gains billionaires have made during this extraordinary crisis to guarantee healthcare as a right to all for an entire year," Senator Sanders said. 

The funds from the tax would be used to "cover all necessary healthcare expenses of the uninsured and underinsured," Sanders said.

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According to Sanders, under the emergency tax, Amazon  (AMZN) - Get, Inc. Report CEO Bezos would pay a one-time tax of $42.8 billion, Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report CEO Elon Musk would pay a one time tax of $27.5 billion, Facebook  (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report Mark Zuckerberg would pay a tax of $22.8 billion and the Walton family that owns Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report would pay a tax of $12.9 billion.

Some billionaires have really benefited during the coronavirus pandemic, most notably Jeff Bezos, whose net worth has increased by almost $75 billion this year as Amazon shares have soared as locked-down consumers have dramatically increased their usage of e-commerce. 

According to the senator's calculations, a tax on wealth gains from March until August would raise $421.7 billion, but the bill is looking to tax gains through the end of the year.