Violent protests have erupted in the streets of Bogota, Cali and other cities in Colombia. The immediate cause? Proposed reforms to the South American country’s tax system, which would have lifted taxes on everything from salaries and dividends to fossil fuels, single-use plastic items and more.

According to reports, the protests have involved citizens of all walks of life, including truckers, taxi drivers and health care workers. Overworked doctors, nurses and paramedics have walked off the job to bring attention to salary delays.

In response to the unrest, Colombian President Ivan Marquez announced on Sunday that he was withdrawing the tax reform proposal. The country’s finance minister resigned the following day.

But the protests continue, just as they did in Hong Kong in 2019 and 2020 after a controversial extradition bill was canceled. At least 24 Colombians are believed to have lost their lives so far during clashes with police.

Money Flows Where It’s Respected Most

It’s against this incendiary backdrop that U.S. lawmakers are having their own tax reform debate.

President Joe Biden seeks to make a number of adjustments to the tax code, including raising the top income rate to 39.6%. The tax on capital gains, currently at 20%, would be doubled. And corporate taxes, which were lowered to 21% in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, would increase to between 25% and 28%.

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