Millionaires call for higher taxes for coronavirus relief: 'It is the only choice'
Abigail Disney, Jerry Greenfield and Morris Pear among more than 80 others calling for higher taxes on wealthy to support COVID-19 funding
Millionaires are asking for higher taxes to help pay for coronavirus aid.
Walt Disney Co. heiress Abigail Disney, Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield and former BlackRock managing director Morris Pearl are calling for higher taxes on the wealthy to fund billions of dollars needed to support health care, schools and security, according to an open letter signed by more than 80 elites in the group that calls itself “Millionaires for Humanity.”
“As Covid-19 strikes the world, millionaires like us have a critical role to play in healing our world. We are not restocking grocery store shelves or delivering food door to door. But we do have money, lots of it. Money that is desperately needed now and will continue to be needed in the years ahead, as our world recovers from this crisis,” the letter reads.
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The open letter went on to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and how it could "push half a billion more people into poverty." The writers also noted the continued job losses as a result of the virus, along with the nearly 1 billion children out of school and the shortage of personal protective equipment, hospital beds and ventilators amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.
"Hundreds of millions of people will lose their jobs as businesses close, some permanently," the letter says.
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“Government leaders must take responsibility for raising the funds we need and spending them fairly. We can ensure we adequately fund our health systems, schools, and security through a permanent tax increase on the wealthiest people on the planet, people like us," the letter continues.
The missive continued to address that charity effort alone would not be enough to solve the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"So please. Tax us. Tax us. Tax us. It is the right choice. It is the only choice," the letter says.
It's not the first time one-percenters have spoken up in favor of paying more in taxes. Pearl wrote in an open letter last year in support of the "millionaires surtax" introduced in Congress last year that would add 10 percentage points to the existing tax rates paid by couples making more than $2 million a year and single people making over $1 million. Democrats, in addition to other proposals that include taxing the rich, have also floated raising the estate tax, increasing the capital gains tax rate, raising income tax rates, and implementing a wealth tax.
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"Though it would only apply to the wealthiest 0.2 percent of taxpayers like me (or about 330,000 taxpayers) the millionaire's surtax would raise an estimated $635 billion over 10 years, according to the Tax Policy Center," Pearl said in the November op-ed, adding: "We can use that money to help shore up Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid or expand health care, improve education, fix our infrastructure, defend our planet from climate change or better fund many other public services and investments vital to non-wealthy Americans."
The millionaires’ letter was put in place by organizations such as Pearl's Patriotic Millionaires, Bridging Ventures, Human Act, Club Rome, Oxfam and Tax Justice UK.