Billionaires tell global leaders they would be ‘proud to pay more’ taxes

Billionaires tell global leaders they would be ‘proud to pay more’ taxes
  • PublishedJanuary 18, 2024

In a letter penned by more than 250 of the mega-rich, the group has asked global leaders gathering in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum to tax “extreme wealth”.

“If elected representatives of the world’s leading economies do not take steps to address the dramatic rise of economic inequality, the consequences will continue to be catastrophic for society,” the open letter said.

“Our request is simple: we ask you to tax us, the very richest in society.”

“This will not fundamentally alter our standard of living, nor deprive our children, nor harm our nations’ economic growth. But it will turn extreme and unproductive private wealth into an investment for our common democratic future.”

It said inequality “has reached a tipping point”, risking economic, societal and ecological stability.

The fix to the issue is beyond individual action, the letter said.

“We need our governments and our leaders to lead,” it said.

“And so we come to you again with the urgent request that you act — unilaterally at the national level, and together on the international stage.”

Signatories of the letter, titled Proud to Pay More, include Disney heir Abigail Disney, Valerie Rockefeller and Brian Cox, who played the fictional billionaire Logan Roy in Succession.

A World Economic Forum sign with people walking in the background
The multimillionaires and billionaires have penned the letter to the World Economic Forum leaders.(Reuters: Denis Balibouse)

Austrian heir Marlene Engelhorn is among the voices demanding that they pay more in taxes.

“I’ve inherited a fortune and therefore power, without having done anything for it. And the state doesn’t even want taxes on it,” Ms Engelhorn, who inherited millions when her grandmother died in 2022, said.

Ms Engelhorn, whose ancestor founded chemical giant BASF, is joining several protests by a wealthy minority on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum calling for higher taxes on the rich.

The estimated 2,150 billionaires around the world are $US3.3 trillion ($5 trillion) richer than they were in 2020, while nearly five billion people worldwide have grown poorer, the charity Oxfam said in a report, slamming “levels of obscene inequality”.


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