A group of rich people from the United States want governments to raise their taxes. A group called Patriotic Millionaires, the exclusive U.S. club that also includes billionaires, released a letter at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, demanding that the global rich add their names to a new plan to make the world a better place through global tax reform.
Their message begins – “There are two kinds of wealthy people in the world: those who prefer taxes and those who prefer pitchforks. We, the undersigned, prefer taxes. And we believe that, upon reflection, you will as well.” It goes on to speak about the growing, already extreme, and destabilizing wealth inequality, how there are more billionaires than ever, and how they should demand higher and fairer taxes on millionaires and billionaires and help prevent individual and corporate tax avoidance and evasion through international tax reform efforts.
According to the UBS/PwC Billionaires Report 2019 released in November 2019, there are currently 2,101 U.S. dollar billionaires worldwide, from 66 countries, with a combined net worth of $8.5 trillion. There are an estimated 46.8 million people with a fortune of $1 million plus around the world in mid-2019, according to the latest edition of Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Report. Combined they add up to 0.6% of the population holding 44% of the worlds wealth ($158.3 Trillion USD) according to the same report. According to studies referenced in the letter – at least $8 trillion is hidden in tax havens. And an estimated 40% of foreign direct investment – about $15 trillion – passes through “empty corporate shells” with “no real business activities.”
The message ends with “To be clear, every solution to this global crisis requires higher taxes on millionaires and billionaires like us. You can join us in accepting this simple fact, and then help us get on with the business of repairing our fractured world – including working together to advance effective tax systems within our respective countries and internationally – or you can refuse to be part of the solution and accept that if we fail, you will be to blame.”
It’s unclear how many, if any, of the world’s wealthy will sign on to this pledge. Currently the group consists of 121 wealthy people (People with a minimum annual income of a million U.S. dollars or assets of five million.)
You can find it all at www.millionairesagainstpitchforks.com
It is interesting, while reading this, to think on the story of the Rich Man in Matthew 19:
16 Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
17 “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely.
19 Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
20 “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?”
21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”