New CHRGJ Blog Calls Fiscal Policy Key to Achieving SDGs and Avoiding “Climate Apartheid”

In a new blog post on Open Global Rights, “Fiscal policy is key to achieving SDGs and avoiding ‘climate apartheid’“, CHRGJ’s Legal Director, Nikki Reisch, and Faculty Chair, Philip Alston—who is also the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights—argue that progressive taxation and transformative social programs are necessary to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals’ promise of reducing inequality and advancing human rights, and to avoid “climate apartheid.” Relying on private finance from corporations and philanthropists is not only risky but misguided, they warn, as it undercuts the essential role of the state in using the power of the public purse to redistribute resources, regulate conduct, represent the will of the people, and ultimately, realize human rights.  Drawing on their recent edited volume from Oxford University Press, Tax, Inequality and Human Rights, Alston and Reisch call attention to the disastrous social consequences of the new fiscal orthodoxy that has taken root around the world, and highlight how built-in biases in tax laws, together with their uneven enforcement, exacerbate economic inequality. In the United States, for example, residents of five southern counties whose populations are predominantly Black and poor are among those most likely to be audited by the IRS. Meanwhile, dozens of Fortune 500 companies paid nothing in taxes to the federal government in 2018 on nearly $80 billion in corporate income. The blog draws connections between the growing economic divide and the growing climate crisis, underscoring the need for creative tax and spending policies that carve away at wealth gaps within and between countries, and reap environmental, as well as fiscal, dividends. Read more on Open Global Rights.


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