The Covid pandemic has created a new billionaire every 30 hours and now a million people could fall into extreme poverty at the same rate, Oxfam said on Monday returning from the Davos summit.
The international charity said it was time to tax the rich to support the less fortunate as the global elite gathered in the Swiss mountain paradise for the World Economic Forum after a two-year Covid-induced absence.
Oxfam said it expects 263 million people to fall into extreme poverty this year, at a rate of one million every 33 hours, as soaring inflation has added a crisis in the cost of life in covid.
For comparison, 573 people became billionaires during the pandemic, or one every 30 hours.
“Billionaires are arriving in Davos to celebrate an incredible increase in their fortunes,” Oxfam executive director Gabriela Bucher said in a statement.
“The pandemic and now the big increases in food and energy prices have, quite simply, been a boon for them,” Bucher said.
“Meanwhile, decades of progress in extreme poverty are now being reversed and millions of people are facing impossible increases in the cost of simply staying alive,” she said.
Oxfam has called for a one-off “solidarity tax” on the pandemic windfall of billionaires to support people facing soaring prices and fund a “just and sustainable recovery” from the pandemic.
He also said it was time to “put an end to crisis profits” by rolling out a “temporary excess profits tax” of 90% on the windfall profits of large corporations.
Oxfam added that an annual wealth tax of 2% for millionaires and 5% for billionaires could generate $2.52 trillion a year.
Such a wealth tax would help lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty, make enough vaccines for the world and pay for universal health care for people in the poorest countries, he said. .
Oxfam based its calculations on the Forbes list of billionaires and World Bank data.