A group of billionaires took lawmakers by surprise, calling on presidential candidates to increase taxes on the super wealthy. The open letter was signed by 19 of the “richest 1/10 of the richest 1% of Americans,” including heiress Abigail Disney, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, and George Soros, and asks for tax increases to fund investments in a range of sectors.
The letter states, according to a report by the Daily Mail, that “America has a moral, ethical and economic responsibility to tax our wealth more.”
“A wealth tax could help address the climate crisis, improve the economy, improve health outcomes, fairly create opportunity, and strengthen our democratic freedoms,” it continues. “Instituting a wealth tax is in the interest of our republic.”
The letter asserts that a tax increase on the wealthy would be a “patriotic” move.
“Others have put far more on the line for America,” it reads. “Those of us in the richest 1/10 of the richest 1% should be proud to pay a bit more of our fortune forward to America’s future.”
“We’ll be fine — taking on this tax is the least we can do to strengthen the country we love.”
The letter self-describes as “nonpartisan” and says that it does not serve as “an endorsement of any presidential candidate.” It does, however, include mention of specific presidential candidates – including Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Rep. Tim Ryan, and Senator Elizabeth Warren – who have publicly supported the idea of increasing taxes on the wealthy.
It also cites Warren’s proposed tax policy – a 2 percent tax rate on the 75,000 wealthiest families in the US – as an example of an approach that the letter signers would support.
“That a moderate tax on a minuscule number of Americans could raise so much revenue simply reflects historic levels of wealth among America’s richest,” says the letter.
The letter has been met with a mix of shock and condemnation. Fox News host Laura Ingraham said in a tweet, “If these billionaires think they pay too little in taxes, why not just send more money to the IRS? Or are they not smart enough to figure that out?”
An estimate suggests that a wealth tax could generate approximately $3 trillion in revenue over the course of 10 years.