Report: Top 1% Income Leaves Working Families Behind During Pandemic

Since 2020, the income of high-net-worth individuals has increased by $2.7 billion per day, while more than 1.7 billion working people have seen their wages decline, according to Oxfam. (New Africa/Adobe Stock)

The world's richest 1% took home almost twice as much wealth as the bottom 99 % combined during the pandemic, according to a new Oxfam International report.

Morris Pearl, chair of the group Patriotic Millionaires, said current tax codes in Indiana and most other states are not cutting it anymore.

He pointed out the rich keep getting richer while people who work for a living are making daily sacrifices on essentials like food or housing, which is not good for families or for investors who want to make money.

"Because money does not trickle down, money trickles up," Pearl explained. "As people pay their bills, for their iPhone and their rent every single month, that is how rich people make money and get richer. And if people don't have enough money to do that, that's not good for any of us."

The report suggested a 5% tax on the world's multimillionaires could raise enough money to lift 2 billion people out of poverty. Indiana's tax codes are considered moderate, with a 7% sales tax, which falls hardest on low-wage earners. The state's property and income taxes are modest, with an overall tax burden of 8.42%.

While families in Indiana struggled with rising gas and grocery prices, the report found profits for 95 top energy and food corporations more than doubled in 2022, with 84% of those gains going directly into the pockets of wealthy shareholders.

Pearl contended people who earn their living by working for wages, with taxes taken right out of their paychecks, have been left behind.

"The system is rigged against them, and we have to unrig the system," Pearl asserted. "We have to change the system so they are not holding the bag for everything that the government needs to do. And we need to make the rich pay some of the taxes too."

The report showed three-quarters of the world's governments plan on making nearly $8 trillion in cuts to public-sector funding, including health care and education, over the next five years.

Pearl emphasized taxes make it possible to provide for the nation's common defense, hire firefighters and police, and build schools, hospitals and highways.

"And things like that have, for the history of this nation, been done by people putting their resources together, and doing things together that they just can't each do individually by themselves," Pearl stressed.

Report Oxfam 01/16/2023
Ind. taxes 2022
Mark Richardson, Producer
January 19, 2023