Over 100 millionaires call for higher taxes worldwide: 'Tax us now'
Millionaires, billionaires call for complete overhaul of international tax system
A group of ultrawealthy people are asking governments around the world to make them pay more in taxes in order to help close a growing wealth gap.
In an open letter published on Wednesday, 102 millionaires called for a complete overhaul of the international tax system, which they said is unfair and has created a "colossal lack of trust between the people of the world and the elites who are the architects of this system."
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"As millionaires, we know that the current tax system is not fair," they wrote. "Most of us can say that, while the world has gone through an immense amount of suffering in the last two years, we have actually seen our wealth rise during the pandemic - yet few if any of us can honestly say that we pay our fair share in taxes."
The group, which is calling itself the "Patriotic Millionaires," includes Disney heiress Abigail Disney, a longtime proponent of higher taxes for the extremely wealthy; her brother Tim Disney and venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, an early investor in Amazon. There are signatories from eight different countries, including the U.S., Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom.
They argued the bedrock of a strong democracy is a fair tax system that bridges the gap between everyday people and the ultrawealthy. In order to fundamentally restore that trust, governments across the world need to impose higher taxes on the wealthy to ensure they "pay their fair share," they said.
"Bridging that divide is going to take more than billionaire vanity projects or piecemeal philanthropic gestures - it’s going to take a complete overhaul of a system that up until now has been deliberately designed to make the rich richer," they wrote, adding: "To put it simply, restoring trust requires taxing the rich. The world - every country in it - must demand the rich pay their fair share. Tax us, the rich, and tax us now."
The letter comes at the same time as this week's virtual World Economic Forum, a gathering of world leaders, business executives and other elites. Although the economic forum – which officially began on Jan. 17 – typically takes place in Davos, Switzerland, it was pushed online this year due to uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the group of millionaires said that Davos "doesn't deserve the world's trust right now," as it has produced "little tangible value" beyond a "torrent of self-congratulations."
"Until participants acknowledge the simple, effective solution staring them in the face - taxing the rich - the people of the world will continue to see their so-called dedication to fixing the world's problems as little more than a performance," they wrote.
The World Economic Forum did not immediately respond to a FOX Business request for comment, but a spokesperson told Reuters that paying a fair share of taxes was one of the forum's tenets.
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A study conducted by the Patriotic Millionaires along with advocacy group Oxfam and other nonprofits shows that a wealth tax of 2% on people worth more than $5 million and 5% for those worth more than $1 billion could generate $2.52 trillion, enough to lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty across the world and to guarantee health care and social protection for individuals in lower-income nations.
A separate Oxfam study shows that the fortunes of the world's 10 richest individuals have climbed to $1.5 trillion since March 2020, when the world economy began to shut down and the stock market cratered.