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Billionaires profit from high food, energy and drug costs

Ottawa (25 May 2022) — A briefing note released this week by Oxfam shows that, while high prices for food, energy and medication have left many people struggling, it’s been good news for the very wealthy. According to the briefing note: Profiting from pain, The urgency of taxing the rich amid a surge in billionaire wealth and a global cost-of-living crisis, billionaires accumulated as much wealth since the pandemic started as they did over the preceding 23 years.

Wealth of food and energy company owners increasing by $1B every 2 days

At the grocery store and the gas station, many of us have been shocked at how fast prices are increasing. As the Oxfam briefing note shows, the wealth of billionaire owners of food and energy companies is increasing just as fast.

Since the pandemic began the wealth of billionaires involved in the food and energy sectors has increased by a billion dollars every 2 days. And the wealth isn’t being shared.

The Walton family, who own Walmart, have seen their wealth increase by $8.8 billion since 2020. However, that hasn’t resulted in Walmart increasing the wages of front line workers or abandoning its ruthless opposition to unions.

Tax fairness measures only way to ensure billionaires pay their share

The Oxfam briefing note was released on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This is a meeting of the very wealthy to discuss how to solve the world’s problems. 

If wealthy individuals like those who attend the World Economic Forum started paying their fair share in taxes, we’d have the means to fix problems like poverty, climate change and the underfunding of services like health care and education. But, when a Dutch historian told the wealthy participants that the best way they could help was to stop tax dodging, it was as popular as snow in July.

Even though billionaires have far more money than they could possibly spend, they are not going to voluntarily pay their share in taxes. Governments will have to ensure they do by reversing the tax cuts that primarily benefited the wealthy, closing the loopholes they use, and cracking down on tax havens.