As a common rule, it’s secure to imagine most individuals don’t wish to be taxed extra. And whereas each rule has an exception, I used to be caught off guard–each as a rich particular person and the great-grandson of meatpacker Oscar Mayer–by what I discovered from a latest survey of the ultra-rich.
The attention-popping new polling from Survation, performed on behalf of the Patriotic Millionaires, challenges our understanding of who helps taxing billionaires and the ultra-wealthy. The survey was performed in December and gauged the emotions of people in G20 nations who’ve greater than $1 million in investable property. To place it frivolously, the outcomes had been extraordinary.
A full 75% of respondents–once more, all of that are rich by any cheap measure–assist introducing a 2% wealth tax on billionaires, as proposed by the EU Tax Observatory in October 2023. And 74% assist increased taxes on wealth to assist tackle the price of residing disaster and enhance public companies. 72% suppose that excessive wealth helps purchase political affect, and 54% suppose that excessive wealth is a menace to democracy itself.
Maybe probably the most extraordinary discovering is that 58% assist the introduction of a 2% wealth tax on individuals with greater than $10 million. That’s to say, broadly talking, themselves.
These numbers may not be so stunning in the event that they weren’t the opinions of the ultra-wealthy. As a member of the Oscar Mayer household and somebody who inherited vital wealth, I perceive that my voice is exclusive on this house. But, this polling demonstrates that I’m firmly within the majority with my rich friends in terms of eager to pay increased taxes.
So if the ultra-rich (to not point out the overwhelming majority of most people) assist further taxes on themselves, why have world leaders up to now declined–or refused–to take motion? It’s not as in the event that they’re unaware of the issue.
Together with practically 250 different millionaires and billionaires, I not too long ago signed an open letter calling on world leaders attending the World Financial Discussion board Annual Assembly in Davos, Switzerland to extend taxes on rich individuals. Some outstanding signatories embrace Abigail Disney, Brian Cox, Richard Curtis, Simon Pegg, and Valerie Rockefeller. The letter, entitled Proud to Pay Extra, calls for that world leaders take swift motion “to tax us, the very richest in society. This is not going to essentially alter our lifestyle, nor deprive our youngsters, nor hurt our nations’ financial progress. However it can flip excessive and unproductive non-public wealth into an funding for our widespread democratic future.”
The letter goes on to say, “Each second of delay entrenches the damaging financial established order, threatens our democratic norms, and passes the buck to our youngsters and grandchildren.”
We’ve lengthy recognized that the established order is destabilizing our economies and democracies. We’ve additionally lengthy understood that the antidote to those twin challenges is taxation. Tax regulation could also be boring, but it surely’s not rocket science.
The quick results of our present financial established order and extraordinary wealth focus are maybe most acutely felt in our elections. Throughout the globe, populism is on the march. Extremist demagogues reap the benefits of stagnant financial techniques–techniques that benefit the wealthy whereas enabling them to flee their civic obligation–by channeling common frustration into fashionable assist. Historical past is at all times instructive: the results of leaving populist demagogues unchallenged are disastrous.
2024 will see no less than 50 elections around the globe, involving greater than 2 billion voters, with huge penalties for the destiny of democracies. Fortunately, we have already got the silver bullet we have to shield our democratic establishments and construct an equitable financial system: taxing excessive wealth. The one factor we lack is the political will to behave. Even millionaires and billionaires like myself are saying it’s time to handle the biggest focus of wealth for the reason that Gilded Age.
There may be cause to be hopeful. Critically, Brazil has assumed the presidency of the G20 this 12 months. With the presidency comes the ability to set the agenda for the G20 summit in November. Brazilian President Lula da Silva has dedicated to including worldwide tax mechanisms to the agenda, creating a chance for the most important world economies to behave in live performance on tackling excessive wealth. It’s a promising begin.
However we can’t wait for much longer. I hope the elites gathering in Davos take the warnings of millionaires and billionaires severely. Strain is constructing within the type of excessive populist politics. If we don’t act quickly, we are going to in the end hand the initiative to enemies of democracy, and the outcomes will undoubtedly be grim.
Chuck Collins is the great-grandson of the meatpacker Oscar Mayer and a co-founding member of the Patriotic Millionaires. He serves because the Director of the Program on Inequality and the Frequent Good on the Institute for Coverage Research, the place he co-edits Inequality.org.
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