A group of billionaires says a wealth tax is the 'least we can do to strengthen the country we love.'
Prominent billionaires are calling for taxes on large fortunes like theirs in order to help America fund priorities like health care, climate change mitigation, and infrastructure.
"Instituting a wealth tax is in the interest of our republic," read a letter sent Monday to all 2020 presidential candidates and signed by a group of 19 ultra-wealthy individuals.
The group is not endorsing any candidates, but the letter did specifically praise Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) plan to institute a 2% wealth tax on every dollar over $50 million. The U.S. does not currently tax personal wealth in this way, even though wealth inequality is greater than income inequality.
While recognizing Congress would need to iron out the details, the billionaire signatories agreed that a tax on their wealth, and the wealth of anyone who has a fortune of more than $50 million, represents a fair way to fund priorities that would benefit the nation as a whole.
"In our republic, it is the patriotic duty of all Americans to contribute what they can to the success of the country, and the wealthiest are no exception," the letter stated. "Others have put far more on the line for America. Those of us in the richest 1/10 of the richest 1% should be proud to pay a bit more of our fortune forward to America’s future."
"We'll be fine—taking on this tax is the least we can do to strengthen the country we love," the billionaires added.
They pointed out that the plan would generate about $3 trillion over 10 years — a massive amount of revenue that could fund "smart investments in our future" such as cleaner energy, universal child care, addressing the opioid crisis, student loan relief, and tax credits for low-income families.
The letter was signed by Chris Hughes, one of the founders of Facebook; Abigail Disney, heiress to the Disney fortune; George Soros, a financier and philanthropist; and 16 others, one of whom signed anonymously.
The position of these billionaires is in stark contrast to the tax scam championed by Trump and congressional Republicans. That law showered the wealthiest 1% with more than 80% of the benefits and slashed the taxes of rich corporations while only giving a pittance to most workers and ordinary Americans. It also added almost $2 trillion to the deficit, lessening the funding available for the issues listed above.
Rather than increase the deficit to get more money they don't need, many real billionaires want to pay their fair share to create a more just and health society.
Trump, who claims to be a billionaire, did not sign the letter.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.