The world’s billionaires and millionaires have ostensibly forgotten how to write checks. Whether out of guilt for their prosperity or a desire to build their credibility on the mean streets of Wokeville, the affluent are imploring governments worldwide to confiscate more of their wealth. While these demands might emanate from a place of good intentions, these individuals are further perpetuating the false idea that government is the arbiter of fairness and equity and facilitating the inherent odious nature of the Leviathan. Rather than putting their money to good use in the broader economy, these folks are the useful idiots feeding the state a steady diet of waste, malinvestment, and progressivism.
Tax Us Now!
In an open letter to the World Economic Forum’s virtual Davos powwow, 102 billionaires and millionaires asserted that the present tax system is “not fair” and has been “deliberately designed to make the rich richer.” The signatories, calling themselves “Patriotic Millionaires,” urged every country on the planet to “demand the rich pay their fair share.”
“Tax us, the rich, and tax us now,” the Jan. 17 letter said, adding:
“As millionaires, we know that the current tax system is not fair. Most of us can say that, while the world has gone through an immense amount of suffering in the last two years, we have actually seen our wealth rise during the pandemic – yet few if any of us can honestly say that we pay our fair share in taxes.
Show the people of the world that you deserve their trust. If you don’t, then all the private talks won’t change what’s coming—it’s taxes or pitchforks. Let’s listen to history and choose wisely.”
So, what are they proposing exactly? A 2% tax for those worth more than $5 million, a 3% penalty for anything above $50 million, and a 5% or 10% levy for money exceeding $1 billion. In total, these patriotic rich folks believe this taxation would generate about $3.62 trillion per year. This, they contend, will help cover the cost of funding vaccines, combating poverty, and paying for universal health care to 3.6 billion people in low- and middle-income nations.
The desperate plea, which includes Disney heiress Abigail Disney and venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, to give the taxman more money was in response to a recent report from the global non-profit organization Oxfam. The study found that the world’s ten wealthiest men doubled their fortunes to $1.5 trillion, an increase of around $15,000 per second, since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Where’s the Check?
For the last couple of years, these wealthy individuals have been begging the state to extract funds from their bank accounts. But why are they waiting for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), or Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs to take action? In the United States, anyone can write a check with “Donation to the United States Treasury” to the Department of the Treasury at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue. The latest data show that there is not really an appetite to voluntarily hand over some dough as the fiscal-year-to-date “gift contributions” to the U.S. government total a little more than $180,000. These influential families could also lobby politicians to propose legislation that uses donations to cover the cost of these leftist causes. It goes to show how much easier it is to virtue signal and expect others to act.
What a Waste!
Last year, the federal government collected $4.05 trillion from individual income, payroll, corporate, and excise taxes. At the same time, Washington spent $6.82 trillion. Suffice it to say, at least in the United States, the federal government does not possess a taxation or revenue problem. Republicans and Democrats routinely engage in “legalized larceny,” a term former President Calvin Coolidge coined, to ensure they can keep spending on entitlements, welfare, war, and the myriad of wasteful items highlighted in Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) annual Festivus report.
Instead of endorsing a wealth tax, these big government acolytes would do society an exceptional service of supporting small businesses and medical clinics, investing in new technologies, donating to charities, and even providing direct support to families residing in impoverished countries. By extending politicians and bureaucrats the power to take capital that does not belong to them will only exacerbate everything wrong with the state, no matter their benevolent objective. As eminent economist Milton Friedman said in Capitalism and Freedom, “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”
~ Read more from Andrew Moran.