The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many changes in the daily lives of people from all around the world. Video streaming on social media platforms has shown people rushing into grocery stores and stocking up on canned food and toilet paper. Colleges have abruptly transferred to online education via Zoom and other video conferencing tools. About 16 million Americans have lost their jobs since the start of lockdowns across the country. Small businesses and local stores still struggle to keep their businesses afloat.
Enrico Moretti, Professor of Economics, here at UC Berkeley, starts off his book ‘The New Geography of Jobs’ contrasting California’s two cities, Menlo Park and Visalia. Back in 1969, they had comparable income levels and high-paying jobs. But since then, these cities have diverged. Visalia has one of the lowest average salaries in America, while Menlo Park, and the broader Silicon Valley, has the second-highest average salary in the US with its high paying tech employers.
States have a tax problem. The most consistently profitable companies in the Fortune 500 only pay about half the statutory federal income tax rate—a fourth pay less than 10 percent. Some even get refunds from Uncle Sam—despite making over $160 billion in pre-tax profits, an astounding 30 companies have enjoyed a negative income tax rate in the past three years.
On February 17th 2020, the richest man alive announced that he will donate about 8% of his fortune to fighting climate change. Jeff Bezos, the founder and one of the current shareholders of Amazon, made this announcement through his Instagram account saying that he will donate 10 billion USD to fund “scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.” After seeing that post, many people had the same question in their mind: Where exactly will this money go?