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Rep. Ro Khanna Says Biden’s Proposed Billionaire Tax Is a “First Step” in Addressing U.S. Inequality

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The White House is unveiling a new tax plan that would establish a minimum 20% tax rate on all U.S. households worth more than $100 million. “It’s high time that people who have made billions of dollars pay the same taxes … as people who are in service jobs, and this is the first step towards that,” says California Congressmember Ro Khanna. The Democratic lawmaker also talks about the Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax, his bill aimed at curbing profiteering by oil companies.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Ro Khanna, before we go, I wanted to ask you about the Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax, the bill you introduced earlier this month, and also President Biden’s unveiling today this new tax plan that would establish a minimum 20% tax rate on all U.S. households worth more than $100 million, called the billionaires’ tax.

REP. RO KHANNA: Let me just say how strongly I support the president’s policy of a minimum tax on billionaires. We could even go further. A lot of the billionaires are in my district. They keep sending me, my district, back to Congress, and I keep saying, “Let’s raise the taxes here so that we can help the rest of the country, which hasn’t participated in the prosperity.” It’s high time that people who have made billions of dollars pay the same tax as preachers and as people who are in service jobs. And this is a first step towards that. I hope it will pass. I don’t see why any Democrat wouldn’t get behind it.

On the Windfall Profits Tax, that’s something I’ve done with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. The reality is that oil companies are having record-high profits. They are putting most of their money into stock buybacks — I think $44 billion that Exxon, Chevron, BP and Shell have given to their shareholders and to their dividend — and in dividends. What we need to do is have that relief at the pump. And so, what we say is if they’re going to charge more than $66 a barrel, then they will pay a 50% tax on that, and we’re going to send checks — call it an inflation rebate — quarterly checks to working-class Americans, those making under $150,000, so that they have some relief for the high gas prices.

One final point, Amy: If we really care about, at the end of the day, not being dependent on petrostates like Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, we need to have a moonshot on renewable energy in this country. It’s not just for climate change; it’s also for national security.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you both for being with us, Congressmember Ro Khanna, member of the House Armed Services Committee; Andrew Bacevich, retired colonel, Vietnam War vet, president of the antiwar think tank Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.

Next up, we’ll look at the plight of African students who fled Russia’s war in Ukraine, only to be detained by European border officials. Stay with us.

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