Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen Talks Climate, Inequality, Taxation, and Solidarity at Vatican Summit

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

via Medium:

Remarks as prepared for address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences event, Dreaming of a Better Restart, in a session entitled Financial and Tax Solidarity.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on human life and our economies. It has also exacerbated global inequality, potentially undoing years of gains in reducing poverty and international economic convergence. Low-income countries are in a particularly difficult situation. Not only are they are facing rising poverty levels, but also increasing debt burdens, and little policy space.

Many low-income countries lack the resources to pay for vaccines, support households and businesses hurt by the economic crisis, and meet their debt payments. I am concerned about a persistent spike in global poverty and a long-lasting global divergence in prosperity.

The United States is committed to working with our international partners to tackle these challenges to foster a better future for all….

Our challenge is to make sure governments have stable tax systems that raise sufficient revenue to invest in essential public goods and respond to crises, and that all citizens fairly share the burden of financing government.

We are working with G20 nations to agree to a global minimum corporate tax rate that can stop the race to the bottom….

And finally, on climate — as Pope Francis recently noted at President Biden’s virtual climate summit, we can come out of this crisis either better or worse. We must collectively work to exit this crisis on a stronger footing, addressing worldwide inequalities and striving to be “stewards of nature.”

President Biden and I are committed to using the full power of the U.S. federal government to address climate change. At the recent White House Leaders Summit on Climate, President Biden announced a new target aimed at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas pollution by half (compared with 2005 levels) by 2030.

The cost of inaction is too great. We must fuel a clean energy revolution that creates good jobs, achieves justice, reduces emissions and pollution, and tackles the climate crisis at home and abroad….

This moment requires unprecedented global cooperation, and a shared sense of urgency and commitment. We must work together.