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How much money America’s 10 wealthiest people would have if the US had a wealth tax

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If the United States had implemented a moderate wealth tax in 1982, Jeff Bezos’ fortune would be half what it was in 2018 and Bill Gates would be $61 billion less rich, a new study published in the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity found.

The idea of using a wealth tax to solve America’s inequality problem has gained traction in recent years, but proposals have been hampered by questions over the effectiveness and the constitutionality of such a tax, Business Insider previously reported.

The Brookings Study, “Progressive Wealth Taxation” by The University of California at Berkeley’s Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, concludes that “the wealth tax has great revenue and wealth equalizing potential in the US context.”

Read more: Wealth tax explainer: Why Elizabeth Warren and billionaires like George Soros alike are calling for a specialized tax on the ultra-wealthy

How a wealth tax would work

A wealth tax would require that ultra-wealthy Americans pay the federal government a small percentage of their net worth each year.

One of the most frequently cited proposals, Elizabeth Warren‘s “ Ultra-Millionaire Tax,” calls for a 2% annual tax on households with a net worth between $50 million and $1 billion and a 3% annual tax on households with a net worth over $1 billion.

The idea has support from ultra-wealthy and ordinary Americans alike: An Insider poll shows that more than half of Americans support Warren’s wealth tax proposal.

And on September 23, Bernie Sanders unveiled a wealth tax that’s even more aggressive than Warren’s.

Keep reading to see how rich America’s billionaires would be if the country had a moderate wealth tax.

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