The Democrat Elite Send A Letter For a Wealth Tax (taking your freedom)
Headlined by George Soros and Abigail Disney, a group of billionaires and multi-millionaires on Monday penned an open letter to 2020 presidential candidates asking that they support a wealth tax on the richest Americans.In a Medium post, the wealthy group argued a wealth tax would help address climate change and income inequality while strengthening Democratic institutions. They advocated specifically for a proposal from 2020 contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that would impose new taxes on those with $50 million or more in assets and raise an estimated $2.75 billion over 10 years.All told, the 18 wealthy Americans who signed the letter have contributed a whopping $80 million to federal Democratic candidates and groups — and just $34,500 to Republican causes — since 1990, potentially giving them sway over the crowded field of 2020 Democrats.
-Center for Responsive Politics Karl Evers-Hillstrom
A CALL TO ACTION: A LETTER IN SUPPORT OF A WEALTH TAX
JUNE 24, 2019
Note: The following nonpartisan letter is written in support of a policy solution, and cosigning this letter does not represent an endorsement of any presidential candidate.
TO: 2020 Presidential Candidates
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.
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. Instituting a wealth tax is in the interest of our republic.
Polls show that a moderate tax on the wealthiest Americans enjoys the support of a majority of Americans — Republicans, Independents, and Democrats.[i] We hope that candidates for President will also recognize the force of the idea and join with most Americans in supporting it. Some ideas are too important for America to be part of only a few candidates’ platforms.
The concept of a wealth tax isn’t new: Millions of middle-income Americans already pay a wealth tax each year in the form of property taxes on their primary form of wealth — their home. The kind of moderate tax on the richest 1/10 of 1% that we support just asks us to pay a small wealth tax on the primary source of our wealth as well.
Several candidates for President, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Representative Beto O’Rourke, and Representative Tim Ryan are already supportive of the idea. The first specific candidate proposal, introduced by Senator Warren, would provide millions of families with a better shot at the American dream by taxing only 75,000 of the wealthiest families in the country.[ii] The proposal is straightforward: It puts in place a tax of 2 cents on the dollar on assets after a $50 million exemption and an additional tax of 1 cent on the dollar on assets over $1 billion. If you have $49.9 million or less you are not paying the tax. It is estimated to generate nearly $3 trillion in tax revenue over ten years.[iii][iv]
This revenue could substantially fund the cost of smart investments in our future, 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.
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.[v] The top 1/10 of 1% of households now have almost as much wealth as all Americans in the bottom 90%. Those of us signing this letter enjoy uncommon fortunes, but each of us wants to live in an America that solves the biggest challenges of our common future.
We are in favor of a wealth tax for at least six key reasons:
A Wealth Tax Is a Powerful Tool for Solving Our Climate Crisis. In addition to better rules on carbon pollution, more American investment is needed now to tackle climate change.[vi][vii] This could both accelerate innovation and speed implementation of solutions that create a clean energy economy and a low-carbon future. A wealth tax asks those of us who have benefitted most from our economic system to help fix one of its most devastating and fatal flaws.
(Funny since most of the pollution comes from other countries and is not a result of the lack of technology that we use. Sure, low footprint cars, using better materials to build, etc. all help but it is minor compared to things like palm farms that are destroying our native rainforests. Palm oil just so happens to be the highest in the US for products we consume. I bet you did not know that. Changing our demand for Palm oil would have more impact than changing all our cars to electric, but hey let’s keep throwing a bunch of money at things that make small impacts and ignore the really big causes.)
A Wealth Tax Is an Economic Winner for America. It would be a powerful instrument for greater economic growth and success. Reinvested both across America and among those less wealthy than ourselves, a wealth tax would extend prosperity. Along with resources for climate crisis investments, America needs a revenue source for other public investments in addition to private investment and philanthropy. Greater public investment in America’s aging infrastructure, child care, and education will not only solve important problems but will also increase productivity in the long run and promote sustained and broad-based economic growth.[viii]Easing student debt would boost entrepreneurship and homeownership rates, which have significantly declined as the costs of higher education have skyrocketed.[ix] A wealth tax could help with innovation and job creation — America’s entrepreneurial economy, despite its many successes, needs strengthening.[x] Put simply, a wealth tax would strengthen the American economy in ways that benefit all Americans.
(This is just a complete laundry list of feel-good statements. There is no evidence that any one of these items would improve with more investment vs. better management. Look at California for example, they are the leader in almost most problems (worse air pollution, poorest school performance, highest homeless, etc. and are also the most taxed in the country). California taxes everything you do and still wants more money, so they tax income, add fees to everything, tax your property, your inheritance, highest car registration, gas is almost double other states, fees for selling/buying homes, fees to certify asbestos, minimum wages, health care for illegal immigrants, subsidized schools, and the list goes on and on. With all of it, they still fall behind in almost every category compared to other states. Why? Because they pass taxes and fees with feeling arguments (help global warming, save our schools, etc.) that the people subscribe to, and then use the money to pay for the bad policies they enact like exploding pensions, lawsuits, and government healthcare plans. The money does very little for the people. Just take a look at San Francisco who passed a unique tax on silicon valley companies (kind of like a wealth tax for companies) to help pay for the exploding homeless crisis. When you take that tax and the other taxes and fees the city pays, the city pays well over $100K per homeless person and has yet been able to make a single dent. $100K per person per year, and not one dent, just needs to be repeated. Why? Because they don’t focus on the problem, just through money to make it look like they are doing something. They don’t focus on rehab, extended care, and support. That is what is needed, instead, they focus on easing laws about sleeping on the street, hand out needles, and bring in mobile food. It does not work.)
A Wealth Tax Will Make Americans Healthier. America’s most experienced public health experts point out that more resources are needed for major public health challenges like cardiovascular disease, the nation’s top killer, and high levels of opioid addiction.[xi] High rates of inequality have been linked to lower life expectancies.[xii] The wealthiest Americans are now estimated to live up to 15 years longer than the poorest Americans, and individuals living in disadvantaged communities are more likely to die before the age of 75, regardless of their income level.[xiii] With a modest tax on the most wealthy families to fund investments creating opportunities for lower-income and middle-income families, we can improve public health outcomes and extend life expectancies.
(Amazing claims considering the US already spends more on Healthcare than any country in the world. They fail to point out the reasons for the health crisis that we currently have. Most of the science is known and the reasons for many of the chronic conditions are well connected to our diets. What we have is a crisis for people to take responsibility for what they put in their bodies (yes there are still thousands of people that truly have a genetic or some other reason other than diet for their condition but it is the minority if you could separate the two). If fast food, sugar, and bad oils were suddenly eliminated from the menu, our countries health would increase 10 fold. Not only that, palm oil is used in so many products which not only causes health problems, but also is one of the leading reasons why our rainforests are being cut down. Don’t believe me? Just use google maps to look at countries like Sumatra, Brazil, and Other rain forests. You will see giant plots of land and forest cut down and replaced with Palm farms. On any given picture you will find hundreds of burning smokestacks making the room for more palms. It is so bad, the individual climates are changing drastically in the native countries. Sponsors of this letter say more tax and more money are needed to help global warming when truth is the largest impact we can have is to curb demand for palm oil and change our diets. This would have an impact far greater than any single thing we do with tax money. When groups say we need more money for something but ignore the underlying causes and refuse to address them, why would you believe them on anything they say.)
A Wealth Tax Is Fair. A wealth tax would help close the large gap in effective tax rates between very rich families and everyone else. Warren Buffett has pointed out that he is taxed at a lower rate than his secretary. The top 1/10 of 1% are projected to pay 3.2% of their wealth in taxes this year, while the bottom 99% of households are projected to pay 7.2%.[xiv]This imbalance creates resentment and makes it harder for working-class Americans to achieve social mobility. Taxing extraordinary wealth should be a greater priority than taxing hard work. The most fortunate should contribute more.
(What is fair? Who manages this, what are the requirements, what is the baseline? Fair is only in the eye of the beholder and the imbalances are the ones the media concentrate on. We should not make policy on feelings. The problem with making policy on feelings is that is clouds judgment, sure there are people that make a lot of money, there are athletes that have a lot more ability, there are students that just perform better, there are people that are just always in shape, point is there are always going to be people that are better than you. If those individuals limit your potential to reach a higher or better you, than that is truly not fair. If they don’t, then why is not fair? Steve Jobs spent virtually every minute of every day thinking and developing a product that everyone wants. He took risks, he made people mad, made people happy, was probably so overstressed that it cost him is health, but aside from making your life easier through the products he developed how was he not fair to you? How did his net worth prevent you from making your own life? In fact, he probably helped it. I am also sure that he probably did more to help the environment and help the poor than any government agency will ever do. We have some amazing wealthy individuals that do put money back to help us grow as a nation, that help curb global warming, and that make new opportunities. We also have the opposite, and just on a charitable giving basis, the crowd that does less is typically the crowd that promotes these policies.)
A Wealth Tax Strengthens American Freedom and Democracy. It would slow the growing concentration of wealth that undermines the stability and integrity of our republic. Countries with high levels of economic inequality are more likely to concentrate political power and become plutocratic.[xv]The founders of America knew this, and feared that an economic elite might become ensconced as leaders and erode the effectiveness of the republic.[xvi] Today, major policies seldom come to pass without the prior support of wealthy elites or other wealthy interests.[xvii] Division and dissatisfaction are exacerbated by inequality, leading to higher levels of distrust in democratic institutions — and worse.[xviii] That’s one reason we don’t view a wealth tax as a sacrifice on our part: We believe instituting a wealth tax would lead to political, social, and economic stability, strengthening and safeguarding America’s democratic freedoms.
(A wealth tax does none of the claims and it does the exact opposite of what they claim. They are correct in stating that in many societies where wealth is concentrated at the top in sways political power and inequality. What they miss, however, is the reason why this is the case. In those countries they refer to, it is almost impossible for people to move out of the class they are part of. There is no economic/income mobility. When there is no economic mobility, income inequality plays a greater role, much like the days of the nobles and the peasants. In a system where income mobility is high (such as in the US), power and influence change and are dynamic. How many cases do we see of this? Ever heard someone say “if you don’t like how it is done, do it better”. Everyday we see that magic happen led by someone new because they have the belief that our system will let them do it. So why does this matter? Because, a Wealth tax can truly hurt your mobility to reach and sustain that level. New wealth, risk takers, and forward thinkers all become impacted much greater than old wealth, stability, and control. The people sponsoring this letter are older wealth and the threat of new wealth increases every day. What if you are the next kind of princesses and heroes (currently held by Disney), or maybe you are the next Berkshire firm. To reach these apexes, your ability is greatly impacted by new taxes and road blocks. I ask you what are they protecting. Also think about those who inherit large land grants, or old family businesses. With the value of land, these could easily amount to the caps they are talking about which results in those families losing their businesses and land because they can not pay the wealth tax. Who does it go to? Well, the people in this letter probably have the means to pick it up. )
A Wealth Tax Is Patriotic. In our republic, it is the patriotic duty of all Americans to contribute what they can to the success of the country, and the wealthiest are no exception. Others have put far more on the line for America. 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.
(A wealth tax is not patriotic. What is patriotic, is helping one another, making sure opportunity is available for every American, and protecting our constitution. Establishing a wealth tax opens the door on everyone to find more ways to take money from individuals for “the greater good”. The greater good should be improved by each and every one of us, rich or poor. One day when all money has been taken and wealth cannot be obtained except for those born into it, then we have lost everything and have made everything worse. We should not trade our freedom to make our own future for some path an elite group of individuals set for us.)
What about the arguments against a wealth tax? They are mostly technical and often overstated.
Some raise important questions about implementation and enforcement. But as the Warren proposal shows, we can limit potential evasion and reduce tax cheating by building on lessons learned in the United States and other countries. Others question whether assets owned by many ultra-millionaires and billionaires, including private equity and art collections, can be accurately assessed for tax purposes. But such assets are frequently valued — upon resale, donation, bankruptcy, divorce, or death.
Some have argued that a federal wealth tax is unconstitutional. But here again, some of the country’s most prominent constitutional scholars — including two former heads of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice — have argued convincingly that a wealth tax is constitutional.[xix]
Far-reaching policy proposals nearly always require considerable effort to iron out complexities — and that effort has always been made when the cause is important enough. The process of instituting a wealth tax would in itself likely improve the measurement tools to facilitate implementation.
Those of us who have signed this letter believe it is our duty to step up and support a wealth tax that taxes us. It is a key to both addressing our climate crisis, and a more competitive, stronger economy that would better serve millions of Americans. It would make America healthier. It is a fair way of creating opportunity. And it strengthens American freedom and democracy. It is not in our interest to advocate for this tax, if our interests are quite narrowly understood. But the wealth tax is in our interest as Americans.
That’s why we’re joining the majority of Americans already supporting a moderate wealth tax. We ask that you recognize its strong merit and popular support, and advance the idea to tax us a little more.
Louise J. Bowditch, Robert S. Bowditch, Abigail Disney, Sean Eldridge, Stephen R. English, Agnes Gund, Catherine Gund, Nick Hanauer, Arnold Hiatt, Chris Hughes, Molly Munger, Regan Pritzker, Justin Rosenstein, Stephen M. Silberstein, Ian T. Simmons, Liesel Pritzker Simmons, Alexander Soros, George Soros, and Anonymous