102 millionaires have made an unusual plea to increase their taxes, after a study concluded that a tax on great wealth is enough to provide vaccines for the world and lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty.
In an open letter to the World Economic Forum in Davos, 102 millionaires, including Disney heiress Abigail Disney, said the current tax system was unfair and “thoughtfully designed to make the rich get richer”.
“The world must demand that the rich pay their fair share,” the letter said, adding, “Tax us, the rich, now.”
Their plea comes after a study backed by the wealthy and non-profit organizations concluded that taxing the wealth of the world’s richest people could raise $2.52 trillion annually, enough to pay for Covid vaccines for all and lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty.
The global charity Oxfam also reported in a report this week that the ten richest people in the world doubled their wealth to reach $1.5 trillion in the two years following the outbreak of the epidemic, while the rate of inequality and poverty rose.
“As millionaires, we know that the current tax system is not fair,” the message, published by groups including “Patriotic Millionaires” and “Millionaires for Humanity,” continued.
“Most of us can say that while the world has gone through a tremendous amount of suffering in the past two years, we have watched our wealth increase during the pandemic but few of us can honestly say we pay a fair share of taxes,” she added.
The list of signatories includes wealthy men and women from the United States, Canada, Germany, Britain, Denmark, Norway, Austria, the Netherlands and Iran.
The National Millionaires group participated in the study on the tax on wealth with a network of non-profit organizations and social movements including Oxfam and the US-based Institute for Policy Studies.
In addition to funding vaccines worldwide and alleviating poverty, the tax would be enough to provide universal health care and social protection for 3.6 billion people in low- and middle-income countries, the group said.
The tax was set at 2% for those with wealth over $5 million, 3% for wealth above $50 million, and 5% for those above $1 billion.
The tax proposal was presented Wednesday as government and business leaders participated in this week’s virtual Davos meeting, and the event was postponed due to the spread of the mutant Omicron.