The millionaires’ letter to the G20: “Tax us super-rich”


By John

Even the super rich want to cry. They ask to pay more taxes in a new appeal bringing together almost 300 millionaires, world-renowned economists and politicians. In view of the G20 which will be held in India from 9 September, an open letter to the leaders asks again an international agreement on the taxation of large estates. For over ten years, organizations like the Patriotic Millionaires have been fighting for a tax system less advantageous for rich people like them and a reduction of the gap with the poor.

Meanwhile, mega-assets continue to grow: those of billionaires have even doubled in the space of a decade to reach 11,800 billion dollars, under the often benevolent gaze of the tax authorities. Colossal assets often pass from generation to generation without paying any inheritance tax. Under current rules, half of the world’s millionaires will be able to transfer, tax-free, wealth equal to $5 trillion to their heirs. And even existing property taxes contribute minimally to tax revenues, on a global scale. For every dollar of revenue, only 4 cents comes from equity.

“Dear G20 leaders, the accumulation of extreme wealth by the world’s richest individuals has become an economic, ecological and human rights disaster, threatening political stability in countries around the world», is the incipit of the letter, which is promoted by Oxfam, Patriotic Millionaires, Institute for Policy Studies, Earth 4 All and Millionaires for Humanity.

Among the signatories are the heiress and philanthropist Abigail Disney, the former prime ministers of Romania, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Bulgariaartists like Brian Eno and Richard Curtisthe former president of the United Nations General Assembly Maria Espinosa and economists like Gabriel Zucman, Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty, Jayati Ghosh, Kate Raworth, Jason Hickel and Lucas Chancel.

«For the first time in decades, – say the signatories – extreme poverty is increasing and almost two billion people live in countries where inflation has exceeded wage growth. Furthermore, the time available for states to make the investments necessary to limit the increase in temperatures to within 1.5 degrees, as envisaged by the Paris Agreement, is rapidly running out.”

«In the field – they underline – there are authoritative and shared proposals: find the courage to implement them!». According to the president of the Patriotic Millionaires and former CEO of BlackRock, Morris Pearl, “the growing gap between rich and poor has destabilized the global economy, weakened social cohesion and favored the emergence of extreme and populist political proposals.” “As a very rich person, representing an organization of like-minded wealthy people, I ask the G20 to tax us,” is his message.