Considering an Emergency Wealth Tax to Confront Coronavirus

by Vins
Published: Updated:

With the coronavirus pandemic we are facing a public health emergency, yet we are also facing a growing economic emergency. An extended lockdown threatens to do significant damage to the global economy. There is no guarantee that the economy will bounce back from this crisis.

Where will money come from to revive and maintain a solid economy while we weather this storm? Most of the world’s governments and banks are already highly leveraged with massive debt. The bottom half of all U.S. families today have close to zero net wealth, so they can’t be taxed to pay for this. The US government is currently running a trillion-dollar annual operating deficit which will most likely double as tax receipts plunge due to this virus-caused recession. And the two trillion-dollar COVID-19 stimulus package, while necessary, further adds to our long-term economic instability.

Perhaps it’s time to turn to another source—the wealthiest ten percent of people—and ask for their support. A one-time three percent wealth tax on the richest citizens would provide the $9 trillion needed to implement a national recovery plan. The people most equipped to take on the revival of the economy are the people that a good economy has given so much to.

Peter Fahey, a Goldman Sachs partner, philanthropist and Wall Street insider embraces the idea of a wealth tax to address the costs of confronting COVID-19. Here is what Fahey had to say:

The central deficiency of capitalism in the 21st century is high inequality/low economic mobility. This deficiency has now been compounded by: (a) the 2017 tax cuts during an economic boom when fiscal deficits were already ballooning, and (b) the drastic fiscal measures that need to be taken to deal with COVID-19. Raising revenue from the wealthiest of our citizens is compelling, and now perhaps practical…. If the subjects of such a tax stated their eagerness to rescue the economic system under which they so benefitted, how could the politicians refuse?

There are a few stories about very wealthy people contributing money to a variety of COVID-19 relief efforts. However, there was no corporate media coverage discussing a one-time tax on the wealthiest among us.

Source: John R. Talbott, “To Confront Coronavirus, We Need an Emergency Wealth Tax,” Truthout, March 25, 2020,

Student Researcher: Weston Pollock (San Francisco State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)