Millionaires are signing a letter requesting to pay more in taxes to help the economy during COVID-19.
In 2018, Under the Trump Administration, for the first time in history, the 400 wealthiest people in the United States paid a lesser rate for their income taxes than any other group, according to a study by economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman conducted at the University of California, Berkeley. This followed The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which was passed in December 2017.
However, not all of the world’s wealthy is on board with receiving cuts, especially amid the pandemic and economic uncertainty, and they’re demonstrating this in very tangible way. Eighty-three millionaires recently signed a letter addressed to their respective governments asking for increased tax rates in order to raise capital for economies devastated by COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and social distancing. Among the signers were Disney heirs, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream co-founder Jerry Greenfield, and citizens of a dozen different countries like Spain, the UK, the U.S., Holland, Russia, and others.
Together the signers for higher taxes formed the Millionaires for Humanity project and posted the letter on their website. In full, it reads:
“To Our Fellow Global Citizens,
As Covid-19 strikes the world, millionaires like us have a critical role to play in healing our world. No, we are not the ones caring for the sick in intensive care wards. We are not driving the ambulances that will bring the ill to hospitals. 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.
Today, we, the undersigned millionaires, ask our governments to raise taxes on people like us. Immediately. Substantially. Permanently.
The impact of this crisis will last for decades. It could push half a billion more people into poverty. Hundreds of millions of people will lose their jobs as businesses close, some permanently. Already, there are nearly a billion children out of school, many with no access to the resources they need to continue their learning. And of course the absence of hospital beds, protective masks, and ventilators is a painful, daily reminder of the inadequate investment made in public health systems across the world.
The problems caused by, and revealed by, Covid-19 can’t be solved with charity, no matter how generous. Government leaders must take the 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.
We owe a huge debt to the people working on the frontlines of this global battle. Most essential workers are grossly underpaid for the burden they carry. At the vanguard of this fight are our health care workers, 70 percent of whom are women. They confront the deadly virus each day at work, while bearing the majority of responsibility for unpaid work at home. The risks these brave people willingly embrace every day in order to care for the rest of us requires us to establish a new, real commitment to each other and to what really matters.
Our interconnectedness has never been more clear. We must rebalance our world before it is too late. There will not be another chance to get this right…Unlike tens of millions of people around the world, we do not have to worry about losing our jobs, our homes, or our ability to support our families. We are not fighting on the frontlines of this emergency and we are much less likely to be its victims…So please. Tax us. Tax us. Tax us. It is the right choice. It is the only choice.”
The group has the support of the charity Oxfam, as well as the Patriotic Millionaires and Tax Justice UK, among others.