Millionaires in Davos argue for higher taxes worldwide: ‘Tax us now’

A group of ultra-rich people are calling on World Economic Forum attendees in Davos to make them pay more in taxes to help close a growing wealth gap.

The group, known as “Patriotic Millionaires,” published an open letter on Monday reiterated calls for forum attendees to “recognize the danger of unchecked wealth inequality around the world and publicly support efforts to tax the rich.”

GLOBAL MINIMUM TAX IN LIMBO AFTER SOME EUROPEAN RESISTANCE

Calling themselves the “Patriotic Millionaires,” the group includes: Disney heiress Abigail Disney, longtime supporter 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 US, Germany, Canada and the UK.

Meeting in Davos, Switzerland

Special police patrol the roof of the Kongress Hotel during the 51st annual meeting of the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 in Davos, Switzerland. (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP/AP Newsroom)

They argued that the foundation of a strong democracy is a fair tax system that bridges the gap between ordinary people and the ultra-rich. To fundamentally restore that trust, governments around the world must impose higher taxes on the rich to ensure they “pay their fair share,” they said.

The letter comes at the same time as this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a gathering of world leaders, businessmen and other elites. It is the first face-to-face meeting in Davos since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than two years ago.

A study conducted by the Patriotic Millionaires, along with advocacy group Oxfam and other nonprofits, shows that a 2% wealth tax on people worth more than $5 million and 5% on those worth more than $1 billion could bring in $2.52 trillion, enough to lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty around the world and to guarantee healthcare and social protection for individuals in low-income countries.

A separate Oxfam study shows that the fortunes of the world’s 10 richest individuals have risen to $1.5 trillion since March 2020, when the global economy began to shut down and the stock market collapsed.

Abigail Disney

Director Abigail Disney speaks at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour on January 18, 2016 in Pasadena, California. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images/Getty Images)

More than 130 countries reached a long awaited deal last year for a worldwide minimum corporate tax rate of 15% and other policies to tackle international tax avoidance. The negotiations, which lasted for years and often appeared to be collapsing, were supported by the support of President Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

But since then, efforts to formally introduce the minimum tax have stalled in both the US — Congress has slowly approved a proposal — and the EU.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development previously estimated that the agreement, which was signed by 137 countries and jurisdictions, will allocate $125 billion in profits from about 100 of the world’s largest and most profitable multinational companies to countries around the world. “They make sure that these companies pay their fair share of tax wherever they operate and generate profits.”

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Lobbyist groups in the US have also argued that a global minimum tax rate could hurt US competitiveness by driving companies out of the country.

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