Rich Americans publish open letter to 2020 candidates asking to be taxed more

During 2016 campaign Donald Trump claimed he was 'smart' for paying no taxes

Andrew Buncombe
Monday 24 June 2019 20:48 BST
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A group of close to 20 wealthy Americans, among them a co-founder of Facebook and a Disney heir, have published a letter to the 2020 presidential candidates urging them to tax rich people such as themselves more.

In the open letter, published on Medium, the group, which includes George Soros, Chris Hughes and Abigail Disney, said America had 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,” they wrote. “Instituting a wealth tax is in the interest of our republic.”

The publication of the letter comes as the issue of the nation’s mounting inequality has come under the spotlight. Recently elected politicians such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have pushed to create a living wage for working Americans and make available comprehensive healthcare and education.

At the same, many of those seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, in particular senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have provided detailed plans of how they would enact a more progressive tax framework if elected.

By contrast, many economists believe the Republican tax cut signed into law by Donald Trump in late 2017, helped wealthier Americans proportionately more than it did the middle class or poor. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr Trump claimed that avoiding taxes for many years made him “smart”.

“The benefits of the tax law are spread pretty evenly in the next few years,” Bloomberg News wrote a year after the cuts were enacted.

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“But, measured as a percentage of their tax bills, the group getting the largest cut is clear: Families earning from $200,000 to $1m will see their tax bills drop about 9 per cent next year.”

In their letter, the group said polls showed the idea of higher taxes for the wealth was politically popular.

“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,” they wrote.

“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.”

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