Tax us now’: Nearly 100 millionaires call for higher taxes globally

102 billionaires, including  Abigail Disney, sent an open letter to the World Economic Forum’s annual Davos conference, claiming that the existing tax system is unjust and “deliberately structured to enrich the wealthy.”

On Wednesday, more than 100 billionaires issued an unprecedented plea: “Tax us immediately.”

Their appeal comes on the heels of a study commissioned by rich people and non-profit organizations that discovered that a wealth tax on the world’s richest people could increase $2.52 trillion yearly – sufficiently to cover the cost of Covid vaccines for everyone and lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty.

102 billionaires, including Disney heiress Abigail Disney, sent an open letter to the World Economic Forum’s annual Davos conference, claiming that the existing tax system is unjust and “deliberately structured to enrich the wealthy.”

“The world as a whole, and each nation within it, must insist that the wealthy pay their due share,” the letter states. “Tax us, the wealthy, and do it immediately.”

Their appeal follows a study released this week by the global charity Oxfam, which said that the world’s ten richest men quadrupled their fortunes to $1.5 trillion during the pandemic’s first two years, while inequality and poverty increased.

“As billionaires, we recognize that the existing tax system is unjust,” according to the letter published by Patriotic Millionaires, Millionaires for Humanity, Tax me Now, and Oxfam.

“While the globe has endured enormous pain over the previous two years, the majority of us can assert that our income has increased throughout the epidemic, few, if any, of us can honestly assert that we pay our due share of taxes.”

Numerous affluent men and women from the United States, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Austria, the Netherlands, and Iran are signatories.

The Patriotic Millionaires conducted wealth tax research in collaboration with a network of non-profit organizations and social movements, including the Fight for Inequality Alliance, Oxfam, and the US-based Institute for Policy Studies.

Along with financing vaccinations globally and eliminating poverty, the organization said that the levy would be sufficient to offer universal health care and social security to the world’s 3.6 billion low- and middle-income individuals.

The tax would be 2% on individuals worth more than $5 million, 3% on those worth more than $50 million, and 5% on those worth more than $1 billion.

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‘Real’ tax

According to the organization, a more progressive tax, which includes a 10% surcharge on billionaires, would generate $3.62 trillion annually. Actual tax rates would be country-specific.

Jenny Ricks, worldwide convenor of the Fight Inequality Alliance, told AFP the organization opted for a more “practical” progressive tax.

Democrats in the US Congress introduced a proposal last year to tax the income of around 700 American millionaires. Still, it was omitted from President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending and climate change agenda.

Wednesday’s tax suggestion was presented at this week’s virtual Davos summit, bringing global government and industry leaders together. Due to the propagation of the Omicron variety, the in-person gathering has been postponed.

“There is no defense for a system that inflates the wealth of the world’s wealthiest individuals indefinitely while sentencing billions to easily avoidable poverty,” Patriotic Millionaire’s chairman Morris Pearl, a former managing director of BlackRock financial company, said in a statement.

“We need structural change, and that begins with taxing wealthy individuals like me,” Morris said.

According to a study conducted by the Patriotic Millionaires in collaboration with the advocacy group Oxfam and other non-profits, a 2% wealth tax on individuals worth more than $5 million and a 5% wealth tax on individuals worth more than $1 billion could generate $2.52 trillion, enough to lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty globally and guarantee health care and social protection for individuals in lower-income countries.

According to a second Oxfam research, the world’s ten wealthiest people’s fortunes had risen to $1.5 trillion since March 2020, when the global economy started to slow and the stock market crashed.