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There’s an Easy Fix to the Nation’s Inflation Woes

As inflation continues to break national records, working-class families across West Virginia are bearing the brunt at gas pumps and grocery aisles.

To turn the tide on rising costs, there are common sense proposals to put workers first. They include serious steps to reduce the federal deficit, along with strategies to fix broken supply chains and release oil reserves to lower gas prices.

It’s an understatement to say that many West Virginians are more immediately concerned about feeding their families than they are about the political divides in Washington. The razor-thin majority in Congress won’t close the deal if everyday Americans can’t see how these plans would improve their struggles.

That could soon change. In May, hundreds of West Virginians jumped on the phone to urge fellow voters across the state to act on a simple solution: asking the wealthiest Americans to finally pay their fair share in taxes.

As an attorney who has practiced across jurisdictions in our state for 27 years, I have already seen how West Virginians can organize and make a difference when the odds are against them.

This case is no different: closing loopholes in our tax code becomes much more feasible once working people see how billionaires exploit them to pay lower effective tax rates than they do. Specifically, America’s wealthiest families shelter the bulk of their wealth by avoiding taxes on unrealized capital gains that the IRS does not touch until those assets are sold.

The Billionaire Minimum Income Tax would apply an annual tax on gains and losses for a small number of the wealthiest taxpayers, which could generate hundreds of billions of dollars and reduce the federal deficit over the next decade.

Meanwhile, others have proposed raising taxes on people making less than $100,000 and requiring Congress to gut critical programs like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid after five years. That’s a path to economic destruction for middle-class and low-income Americans.

Most voters don’t obsess over international supply chains or complex macroeconomic models. They do, however, know that the ultra-wealthy don’t make their fortunes without public infrastructure transporting goods and people, schools educating their pipeline of workers, and health care services keeping them on the job.

Most importantly, they know they shouldn’t have to choose between food and rent while billionaires avoid contributing to an economy that we all depend on.

Beating inflation doesn’t need to be a pie-in-the-sky policy goal. A majority of Americans already support the common-sense idea that wealthy Americans should pay a reasonable tax rate. A recent nationwide poll found that 78 percent of Democrats, and over half of Independents, agreed that taxing the rich would control inflation.

While this would begin to ease some of the immediate struggles among working families, the long-term outlook is even better. Future generations of West Virginians should have more to look forward to than fighting to survive the next economic downturn. Our children and grandchildren deserve a fair shot at building their own generational wealth under a fair tax code.

That’s why I’m joining voters across the Mountain State in calling on Congress to follow through on its promise to the American people, get our economy back on track, and start to fix our broken system with a tax on billionaires.

The math behind the policy is well-documented. But perhaps more importantly, it’s a simple, popular solution that voters can actually feel.

Teresa Toriseva is an attorney living in Wheeling.

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