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As govts. respond to COVID-19 fallout, progressive taxation could directly address economic inequalities, says CESR

Author: Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), Published on: 24 June 2020

“Recovering rights: Progressive tax measures to realise rights (Topic 3)”, 15 June 2020

To respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, there is overwhelming agreement that a massive mobilization of resources...is needed to protect people’s health and prevent…economic devastation. So far, most countries have been more radical on the spending side. They’ve introduced economic relief and recovery packages worth billions to guarantee people’s incomes and support collapsing businesses. But what they’ll do to raise money remains less certain.

Taxation is often the most sustainable, effective and accountable way for governments to raise money. But over the last 40 years governments have rolled back tax policies that oblige powerful corporations and wealthy individuals to pay their fair share. [COVID-19] has dramatically amplified inequalities of all kinds. People living in poverty, racial minorities, and immigrants are suffering the highest infection and mortality rates. Because they’re overrepresented in precarious employment, women’s livelihoods have been hit severely—often without adequate social protection…

Progressive taxation narrows gaps between the advantaged and the disadvantaged more directly. [The proposals in this Brief]…target the places in the economy where resources are most concentrated and redistribute them…to those whose rights are most at risk from the impacts of COVID-19. [If] seen as temporary “one-off” measures, these proposals are unlikely to remedy pre-pandemic economic injustices. Inclusive, global cooperation is essential to introduce such proposals; advance other urgent reforms to international taxation; and prevent illicit financial flows from Global South countries…

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