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Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced legislation on Friday that would redirect excess profits from corporations that were allowed to remain open during the coronavirus crisis to small businesses that have been forced to close due to economic shutdowns.
HR 1267, otherwise known as The Pandemic Crisis Excess Profits Tax, would add a 95 percent tax on corporations’ excess profits. This would be calculated by subtracting their 2020 gross earnings from their average gross earnings from 2016 to 2019, before the coronavirus. Gabbard claims that this would ensure that corporations such as Amazon, Walmart, Zoom and others, are not profiting off economic shutdowns that have helped clear the market of their competition.
Gabbard said in a statement that “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.”
The corporations’ excess profits would be redirected to struggling small businesses that have been forced to close their doors due to economic shutdowns. Similar legislation was first adopted during World War I then again during World War II to prevent corporations from profiting off the wars.
Gabbard added: “…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.”
While an exact number is not yet known, some estimate that over 315,000 small businesses across the United States have closed between February and September of this year, due to forced shutdowns imposed by politicians.
Meanwhile, some of the country’s biggest corporations which were allowed to remain open, have made enormous profits over the last year, as have their executives.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos increased his wealth by almost $72.5 billion this year. Big box retailers like Target, Home Depot, and Walmart have seen their profits skyrocket and have been allowed to remain open through the crisis, as their small business competition has been forced to shut down and go out of business.