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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Democrats' short-lived dream of a special tax for billionaires was extinguished today by Sen. Joe Manchin.

Driving the news: The West Virginia Democrat doesn't oppose taxing billionaires, but said he's not OK with singling them out.

  • Instead, he suggested everyone should have to pay taxes on at least some of their income, reports Axios' Hans Nichols.

The big picture: Under the plan, billionaires would have been taxed at 23.8% on their capital gains, whether realized or not, Axios' Felix Salmon writes.

  • For billionaire entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk, substantially all of their net worth is capital gains.

Consider Elon Musk, the richest person in the world.

  • Under Wyden's proposal, Musk would have to pay 23.8% tax on his $166 billion in Tesla gains. That's $39.5 billion. He'd be allowed to pay it in five equal annual installments of $7.9 billion.
  • If Musk decided to defer the tax on his illiquid assets, he'd also need to pay an extra interest payment, with the rate set initially at about 1.2% per year.

The bottom line: Taxing unrealized capital gains is as good as dead for this Congress — but it will be a feature in Democratic primaries and is now part of the public consciousness, ala Medicare for All, Hans tells me.

Go deeper

JPMorgan files $162 million lawsuit against Tesla

Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Wilmington, Delaware in July. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

JPMorgan Chase filed a lawsuit against Tesla Monday, accusing the electric car firm of "breach of contract action" over stock warrants following CEO Elon Musk's 2018 tweet that he might take his firm private.

Why it matters: JPMorgan alleges the bank and Tesla "entered a series of warrant transactions, which required Tesla to deliver either shares of its stocks or cash to JPMorgan" if the car company's share price was above the contractual "strike price" when the warrants expired.

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.

FDA approves AstraZeneca COVID drug for people with immune problems

Photo: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for an AstraZeneca COVID-19 antibody drug for people with compromised immune systems.

Why it matters: The drug, Evusheld, is the first antibody therapy authorized in the U.S. to prevent coronavirus symptoms before virus exposure.