Ultra-affluent collective tells governments to ‘tax us now’

Actor Mark Ruffalo and Disney heiress join patriotic millionaires who spoke to global powers-that-be in Davos

Ultra-affluent collective tells governments to ‘tax us now’

Disney heiress Abigail Disney and The Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo are among the group of 205 millionaires and billionaires who on Wednesday urged world leaders and corporate executives attending the WEF in Davos to swiftly enact wealth taxes to combat "extreme inequality."

Over 200 members of the super-rich elite are urging governments all over the world to "tax us, the ultra rich, now" in a bid to help the billions of people suffering a crisis due to rising living costs.

In an open letter published on Wednesday, they said, “The current lack of action is gravely concerning. A meeting of the ‘global elite’ in Davos to discuss ‘cooperation in a fragmented world’ is pointless if you aren’t challenging the root cause of division.”

“Defending democracy and building cooperation requires action to build fairer economies right now – it is not a problem that can be left for our children to fix.”

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

In the letter entitled “the cost of extreme wealth”, the group of millionaires from 13 countries said: “The history of the last five decades is a story of wealth flowing nowhere but upwards. In the last few years, this trend has greatly accelerated …The solution is plain for all to see. You, our global representatives, have to tax us, the ultra-rich, and you have to start now.”

The super-rich signatories, who refer to themselves as "patriotic millionaires," issued a dire warning about the consequences of inaction.

A recent study reveals that the richest 1% have received over two-thirds of the additional wealth created since the pandemic began.

Up to the end of 2021, the richest people have amassed US$26 trillion in new wealth, according to research by the development charity Oxfam. The remaining 99% of persons received the 63% of the total new wealth.

According to Oxfam, the growth in extreme wealth is now matched for the first time in 25 years by an increase in extreme poverty. Oxfam is calling for additional taxes to be imposed on the super-rich.

A tax of up to 5% on the world's multimillionaires and billionaires, according to Oxfam, could collect $1.7 trillion annually, enough to help 2 billion people escape poverty and pay for a worldwide strategy to eliminate hunger.

Marlene Engelhorn, a multimillionaire heiress, co-founder of campaign group taxmenow and signatory of the letter, said: “The whole world – economists and millionaires alike – can see the solution that is staring us all right in the face: we have to tax the ultra rich.”

“If we care about the safety of democracy, about our communities, and our planet we have to get this done. And yet our decision-makers either don’t have the gumption or don’t feel the need to listen to all of these voices. It begs the question, ‘What, or who, is stopping them?’