Gabbard released legislation on Friday, known as the Pandemic Crisis Excess Profits Tax, to ensure that corporations such as Amazon, Facebook, Walmart, and Google are not profiting off economic shutdowns that have helped clear the market of their competition.
“Big tech corporations and big-box retailers are among those who have made excessive profits during the COVID-19 pandemic, while mom and pop shops are being forced to close their doors due to government-mandated restrictions,” Gabbard said in a statement.The legislation — first adopted during World War I and World War II to prevent corporations from profiting off the wars — would add a 95 percent tax on corporations’ excess profits calculated by subtracting their 2020 gross earnings from their average gross earnings from 2016 to 2019, before the coronavirus.
The corporations’ excess profits would then be directed to aid struggling small businesses that have been forced to close their doors due to economic shutdowns while giant conglomerates have been allowed to conduct business as usual. Gabbard said:
Because of this, these large corporations will be better positioned with a competitive advantage over small businesses in a post-pandemic economy. Congress must reinstate the WWII-era excess profit tax used at that time to prevent war-time profiteering, and dedicate the funds collected to helping small businesses recover.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and have borne the brunt of this crisis,” Gabbard continued. “We need to support our small businesses and make sure that they are able to thrive and compete.”
160,000 to 317,000 small businesses across the United States have closed between February and September of this year as a result of forced economic shutdowns due to the coronavirus. That amounts to roughly 800 to 1,200 small business closures every day.
Meanwhile, the executives of the nation’s biggest corporations — allowed to remain open — have netted enormous profits over the last year.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, for instance, has increased his wealth by nearly
$72.5 billion this year, while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has increased his wealth by $26.3 billion. Big box retailers like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Wayfair have seen their profits surge as their competitors are run out of business.