Not this time, not again. When the West emerged from the financial crisis of over a decade ago, not everyone noticed. In the United States, the gap between the incomes of middle-class families and those of the richest 20% exploded. That advantage of the typical average wealthy family over the typical average family had grown to $ 378,000 in annual income more in favor of the former. Never before in the postwar period had the distance been so great, never before had it grown so fast as in the years of Democratic President Barack Obama. That increase in inequality became the breeding ground of the Trumpian revolt.
This recent history is the reminder that some of the leaders and directors of economic policy in the West today do not sleep at night. They are afraid that history will repeat itself after the pandemic. And they react by trying to exorcise it. In the United States, the administration of Joe Biden, Obama’s former vice president, is thinking of tax hikes on the wealthy and big business hidden behind the protection of tax havens. And yesterday through the “Financial Times” the head of budget affairs of the International Monetary Fund, Vítor Gaspar, presented a similar proposal: new special taxes, for some time, on the extraordinary profits of companies that thrive thanks to Covid and on higher incomes.
“The symbolic impact of these kinds of contributions is sometimes very important,” Gaspar said. It could theoretically be up to Amazon, which saw net profit double to $ 21 billion in 2020. Or it could be those who invested in Moderna shares, the vaccine pharmaceutical company, whose value has grown from $ 18.3 to $ 183 in a year. All this would make sense. Whether it is enough to curb the push towards inequality impressed in the last year by the pandemic – and not just to create an alibi – remains to be demonstrated.
April 7, 2021, 21:57 – change April 7, 2021 | 21:57
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