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Millionaires: 'Tax us' to fund COVID-19 recovery

July 13, 2020

Over 80 of the world's wealthiest individuals have called for higher taxes on the rich in order to fund the coronavirus recovery. In an open letter, the group Millionaires for Humanity said charity is not the solution.

A stock photo of a medical face mask on top of a stack of euro bills
Image: Imago Images/F. Sorge

A group of 83 millionaires from seven different countries called for higher taxes on the rich to help fund the world's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

In an open letter shared Monday, the signatories wrote that problems caused and revealed by COVID-19 "can't be solved with charity, no matter how generous."

Read more: Can a wealth tax bridge Germany's divide between rich and poor?

"We are not driving the ambulances that will bring the ill to hospitals. We are not restocking grocery store shelves or delivering food door to door. But we do have money, lots of it," said the signatories, who call themselves Millionaires for Humanity.

Calls for a permanent tax increase

The means to rebuild the world's health systems, schools, and security can only be obtained through "a permanent tax increase on the wealthiest people on the planet, people like us," the letter said.

"Millions of people will lose their jobs as businesses close, some permanently," the millionaires warned. "Government leaders must take the responsibility for raising the funds we need and spending them fairly."

The letter was released ahead of a meeting of G20 finance ministers and a summit of EU leaders later this week.

Ice cream barons and movie directors

Prominent signatories of the letter included German start-up investor and philanthropist Dr. Mariana Bozesan, British screenwriter and director Richard Curtis, former BlackRock Inc. managing director Morris Pearl, Danish-Iranian entrepreneur Djaffar Shalchi, Walt Disney heiress Abigail Disney, and co-founder of the ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's, Jerry Greenfield.

 The letter was a collaborative effort between groups that included Oxfam, Tax Justice UK, and Patriotic Millionaires, an organization of high-net-worth US individuals.

"Please," the letter ended. "Tax us. Tax us. Tax us. It is the right choice. It is the only choice. Humanity is more important than our money."

kp/sms (AFP, KNA)