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Report America’s Richest Now Worth a Record $5.8 Trillion / Public News Service

The nation’s billionaires have doubled their wealth in the past seven years, while working people in West Virginia and elsewhere continue to face economic struggles.

The combined fortunes of America’s more than 800 billionaires reached a record $5.8 trillion in April, according to a new report from Americans for Tax Fairness.

Gary Zuckett, executive director of the Citizen Action Education Fund, said the Mountain State is just beginning to see the effects of a deep income tax cut passed by state lawmakers last year.

He said the lack of funding makes it difficult to tackle the worsening problems.

“Just like the child care crisis in West Virginia and the corrections crisis – our prisons have been in a state of emergency for three to four years,” Zuckett said. “There are a lot of things we should use our tax dollars for besides giving them to the wealthy through income tax cuts.”

America’s billionaires now own more than 50% more wealth than the entire bottom half of American households.

However, under current tax law it is unlikely that the staggering capital gains of the richest will ever be taxed.

Trump-era tax breaks for the wealthy, introduced in 2017, expire at the end of 2025.

Zuckett explains that the laws reduce the top income tax rate from over 39% to 37%, and the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%.

“The grocery stores and the people who work at Walmart, regular working people,” Zuckett says, “pay taxes on every dollar they make, but the system is set up so that the people at the top can benefit.”

According to the report, if the richest Americans were taxed at the rate of the average American, the country would have new potential tax revenues of about $120 billion per year, which could help pay for more affordable and accessible health care.

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