In an era where extreme wealth has reached unprecedented heights, a coalition of millionaires, esteemed economists, and influential politicians is urging the G20 to take a bold step towards addressing wealth inequality. The collective pressure is mounting as they call for a return to fairer and more equitable taxation levels that benefit society as a whole.
Over the past decade, billionaires have doubled their wealth, amassing a staggering $11.8 trillion, a trend that threatens to exacerbate wealth disparities. In an open letter addressed to the G20, nearly 300 signatories from various G20 countries make a passionate plea for a new global consensus on wealth taxes, viewing it as a crucial measure to prevent extreme wealth from eroding our collective future. The signatories emphasize that people worldwide are yearning for change.
The triad of money, knowledge, and power is now united in a resounding call to action, urging the G20 to prioritize taxing the wealthiest individuals during their upcoming Summit in India and beyond. Among the notable signatories are philanthropist Abigail Disney, former leaders from countries including Romania, Croatia, Czech Republic, and Bulgaria, as well as influential figures like US Senator Bernie Sanders and US Representative Brendan Boyle. The support extends to European parliamentarians, artists like Brian Eno and Richard Curtis, UN General Assembly past president Maria Espinosa, and renowned economists Gabriel Zucman, Jayati Ghosh, Kate Raworth, Jason Hickel, Lucas Chancel, and Thomas Piketty.
GLOBAL POLITICAL STABILITY
The ballooning fortunes of the world’s richest individuals are seen as nothing short of an economic, ecological, and human rights catastrophe that threatens global political stability. Rejecting the notion that wealth concentration benefits society at large, the signatories emphasize that the G20 must act swiftly to establish a fairer tax regime capable of generating trillions of dollars to combat pressing global challenges, including poverty, inequality, wage stagnation, and the climate crisis. Achieving international consensus on taxing the super-rich may be challenging, but these advocates believe it is a goal worth pursuing.
Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires and former BlackRock Managing Director, Morris Pearl, underscored the urgency of the situation, stating, “In recent decades, wealth inequality has skyrocketed around the world. The growing gap between rich and poor has destabilized the global economy, exacerbated the rise of extremist politics, and frayed the very fabric of our social order. As an ultra-wealthy person, representing an organization of like-minded wealthy people, I am asking the G20 to tax us. The leaders of the world’s largest economies must coordinate swift and decisive action to reduce dangerous levels of inequality; if they fail to tax extreme wealth, the results will be a perpetually weakened global economy, the decline of democratic institutions, and worsening social unrest. The G20 must act.”
This resounding call from a diverse group of influential voices highlights the imperative for the G20 to prioritize wealth taxation as a critical step toward a more just and equitable future for all.
- In the last decade those with over $50 million have enjoyed an 18.3 percent growth on their wealth, while billionaires have seen their wealth grow by 109 percent.
- Only 4 cents in every dollar of tax revenue comes from wealth taxes.
- Since 2020, the richest 1 percent has captured almost two-thirds of all new wealth. Billionaire fortunes are increasing by $2.7 billion a day.
- For every dollar of new wealth gained by someone in the bottom 90 percent, one of the world’s billionaires has gained $1.7 million.
- Half of all millionaires will not pay any inheritance tax and will pass on $5 trillion tax-free to the next generation.
- The average tax rate on the richest has fallen from 58 percent in 1980 to 42 percent in OECD countries.
- Tax on capital gains – typically the most important source of income for the top 1 percent – are only 18 percent on average across more than 100 countries.
- In the boom years of the 1950-60s, the top marginal rate of US federal income tax was 91 percent, inheritance tax was 77 percent until 1975 and corporate tax above 50 percent.