Why a Group of Billionaires Want Their Taxes Raised
At basically every level―local, state, federal―the tax codes in the U.S. help the already-wealthy get even richer. But a group of billionaires are on the record saying that shouldn't be the case. In an open letter posted to Medium on Monday, 19 billionaires ask all presidential candidates to raise taxes on the richest of the rich:
We are writing to call on all candidates for President, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, to support a moderate wealth tax on the fortunes of the richest 1/10 of the richest 1% of Americans—on us. The next dollar of new tax revenue should come from the most financially fortunate, not from middle-income and lower-income Americans.
No matter how magnanimous these billionaires are though, they're up against fierce opposition from inside their own tax bracket, including Donald Trump and the activist Koch brothers. Still, raising taxes on the super-wealthy is a popular policy. Fox News's own polling found 65 percent of respondents support raising taxes on anyone making over $1 million per year. In the letter, the co-signers call such a policy "patriotic" and "moral," adding that the revenue could fund things "like clean energy innovation to mitigate climate change, universal child care, student loan debt relief, infrastructure modernization, tax credits for low-income families, public health solutions, and other vital needs."
"We thought it would be a good idea," Ian Simmons, whose family started the Montgomery Ward department store chain, told the New York Times. Simmons's wife, Liesel Pritzker Simmons, is an heiress to the Pritzker family, which is worth an estimated $29 billion and is one of the wealthiest families in the country according to Forbes. "Liesel and I decided to reach out to some other folks to see if they thought it was a good idea, too."
Other signatories include financier George Soros, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, Disney heiress Abigail Disney, venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, and one "Anonymous" who could have at least included their net worth if they were withholding their name. Hanauer wrote his own open letter, titled "To My Fellow Zillionaires," in 2014, where he warned that the super-rich needed to support more egalitarian policies, saying, "No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out."
Originally Appeared on GQ