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‘Tax us now’: ultra-rich urge governments to introduce wealth tax | Davos 2023

More than 200 members of the super-rich elite are calling on governments around the world to “tax us, the ultra-rich, now” to help billions of people struggling with a cost-of-living crisis.

A group of 205 millionaires and billionaires, including Disney heiress Abigail Disney and Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo, called on world leaders and business executives meeting in Davos at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday to urgently introduce wealth taxes to helped solve the problem of “extreme inequality”.

“The current lack of action is seriously worrying.” “The meeting of the ‘global elite’ in Davos to discuss ‘cooperation in a fragmented world’ is pointless if you do not challenge the root cause of division,” they said in an open letter published on Wednesday. “Defending democracy and building cooperation requires action to build a fairer economy right now – it’s not a problem that can be left to our children to solve.”

“Now is the time to address extreme wealth; now is the time to tax the ultra rich”.

In a letter titled ‘The Price of Extreme Wealth’, the millionaires from 13 countries said: ‘The history of the last five decades is the story of wealth flowing nowhere but upwards. In the last few years, this trend has greatly accelerated… The solution is clear to all. You, our global representatives, need to tax us, the ultra-rich, and you need to start now.

The super-rich signatories, who describe themselves as “patriotic millionaires”, warned that inaction could lead to disaster. “There is only so much stress any society can take, only so many mothers and fathers will watch their children starve while the ultra-rich contemplate their growing wealth.” The price of action is much cheaper than the price of inaction – it’s time to get on with the job.”

It comes as new research shows that nearly two-thirds of the new wealth gained since the start of the pandemic has gone into the hands of the richest 1. Development charity Oxfam found that the top earners pocketed $26 trillion (£21 trillion) of new wealth by the end of 2021. This represented 63 per cent of all new wealth, with the rest going to the remaining 99 per cent of people.

Oxfam said that for the first time in a quarter of a century, the rise in extreme wealth has been accompanied by an increase in extreme poverty, and called for new taxes on the super-rich.

Oxfam said a tax of up to 5% on the world’s multimillionaires and billionaires could raise $1.7 trillion a year, enough to lift two billion people out of poverty and fund a global plan to end hunger.

Marlene Engelhorn, multimillionaire heiress, co-founder of the tax campaign group and signatory to the letter, said: “The whole world – economists and millionaires alike – can see a solution staring us all in the face: we have to tax the ultra-rich.” If we care about the security of democracy, our communities and our planet, we have to do it. And yet, our decision makers either don’t have the courage or don’t feel the need to listen to all these voices. The question arises ‘What or who is stopping them?’

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