As some of the richest and most powerful people in the world—without usual Russian oligarchs – descend on the swanky Swiss ski resort of Davos for the start of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting on Sunday, a multinational coalition of conscientious millionaires has taken direct action to demand that governments #TaxTheRich.
“Any millionaire who has enough sense to see that our current economic model is failing will support these protests.”
Activists from Patriotic Millionaires, Patriotic Millionaires UK, taxmenow and the 99% Initiative, who demonstrated outside the elite compound, had a message for conference delegates: “Extreme wealth erodes democracy”, and taxing the rich “will reduce inequality and help deal with the cost of living scandal unfolding in several countries around the world.”
Meanwhile, the Fight Inequality Alliance called activists around the world to mobilize in “a visible spectacle of people power around the world to tell our governments to stop listening to the 1% and start listening to those most affected by inequality”.
Taxmenow co-founder Marlene Engelhorn, heiress to the founders of chemical giant BASF, explained that “as someone who has enjoyed the benefits of wealth all my life, I know how skewed our economy is and I can’t not to continue to sit and wait for someone, somewhere, to do something. I feel that we are left with no choice but to act.
“Our governments continue to do nothing to address glaring inequality and instead meet behind closed doors in this spectacle of private wealth,” she added. “We have reached the end of the line when another quarter of a billion people will be pushed into extreme poverty this year. It’s time to rebalance the world. It’s time to tax the rich.”
Engelhorn was referring to an April report from Oxfam warning that a combination of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – which has sent global food prices skyrocketing and energy, largely due to corporate greed – could push more than a quarter of a billion people into extreme poverty this year.
Phil White, member of Patriotic Millionaires UK and former consultant, said in a statement that “As the rest of the world crumbles under the weight of an economic crisis, billionaires and world leaders gather at this private resort to discuss turning points in history.”
“It is outrageous that our political leaders are listening to those who have the most, know the least about the economic impact of this crisis, and many of whom pay sadly little tax,” he continued. “The only credible outcome of this conference is to tax the wealthiest and tax us now. Tax the delegates at Davos 2022.”
“Protests are taking place around the world demanding that the wealthiest be taxed – and there will be more unless our governments act,” White added. “Any millionaire who has enough sense to see that our current economic model is failing will support these protests.”
Earlier this week, Common dreams reported that a new analysis of US Internal Revenue Service records by advocacy group Americans for Tax Fairness found that America’s 26 richest billionaires – the world’s top perpetrator of financial secrecy – were paying a average federal tax rate of only 4.8%.
Patriotic Millionaires UK interrogates British public opinion just before the release of the Sunday time‘ annual Rich list of Britain’s wealthiest people, a ranking that now includes the government’s third-highest-ranking Cabinet minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. It is the first time that a politician, let alone one responsible for the nation’s economic and financial policies, has appeared on the list since it was first published in 1989.
The 250 people on this year’s rich list are collectively worth £710 billion ($887 billion), an amount larger than the gross domestic product of either Saudi Arabia or Switzerland.
According to the poll, the UK public think extreme concentrated wealth is bad for the country and democracy, with 72% of respondents saying it’s possible people are too wealthy and 71% in favor of higher taxes on businesses. super-rich.
“It is evident here that the British public sees the dangers of concentrated and extreme wealth more clearly than those in power,” said Julia Davies, founding member of Patriotic Millionaires UK, of the poll. “Wealth in the hands of a few is not a solution to the economic impacts of inequality or a useful deployment of resources in this cost of living crisis.”
“The fact that our Chancellor is now joining the ranks of the wealthiest people in the UK – while he and the government refuse to consider taxing wealth rather than work – is a shocking insight into our political system,” he said. she continued.
“It certainly appears that 70% of people in this poll are correct in believing that extreme wealth buys political influence,” Davies added. “We have repeatedly asked the Chancellor to raise taxes on us, the wealthiest people in society. His appearance on the rich list shows very clearly why he is not listening.”