Protesters take part in a demonstration against the World Economic Forum (WEF) during the annual SEF meeting in Davos on May 22, 2022.

Fabrice Cofrini Afp | Getty Images

A group of more than 150 millionaires is urging elite participants of this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos to raise taxes.

The group, known as the “Patriotic Millionaires”, released an open letter Monday reiterating its call on WEF members to “recognize the dangers of uncontrolled wealth inequality around the world and publicly support efforts to tax the rich.”

“Tax us, the rich, and tax us now,” reads the letter, signed by actor Mark Ruffalo and heiress Abigail Disney.

They explained in the letter that the inequality inherent in the international tax system has generated mistrust between the people of the world and its wealthy elites.

To restore that trust, the group argued that it would take “a complete overhaul of the system, which has so far been deliberately designed to make the rich richer.”

“Simply put, restoring trust requires taxing the rich,” said the millionaires.

They said the WEF summit in Davos is currently not trusted by the world, given the lack of “material value” that has resulted from discussions at previous events.

Some of the millionaires even staged protests against taxation in Davos over the weekend.

The cost of living crisis

The last call of the rich to tax more is when rising prices increase the cost of living of people around the world.

Patriotic millionaires cited an Oxfam report released on Monday, which found that the billionaire was expected every 30 hours for the first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. Oxfam estimates that nearly a million people could find themselves in extreme poverty at a similar rate in 2022.

Julia Davis, a founding member of Patriotic Millionaires UK, said that no matter how scandalous it may be that governments seem to be completely inactive about the cost of living, no less scandalous is the fact that they allow extraordinary wealth to be in the hands of so few people ».

Davis added that “global crises are not accidental, they are the result of a bad economic plan.”

“Race to the bottom” for taxes from enterprises

Oxfam CEO Gabriela Bucher said last year that a multilateral agreement proposing that companies pay at least 15% income tax, on Tuesday in an interview with Jeff Katmar at a panel in Davos said that last year’s multilateral agreement companies pay at least 15% income tax, not far enough.

The Agreement on Tax Reform of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development was signed by 136 countries and jurisdictions in October, but has not yet been implemented.

Bucher noted that if the agreed rate was set higher, at 25%, as recommended by tax experts around the world, it would take another $ 17 billion for developing countries.

Bucher was also concerned that the agreement at the current level would lead to a “race to the bottom” of corporate tax taxes and that countries with higher rates could actually reduce them.

“There is a danger that we are not really using this important tool at a time when we have so many competing crises,” she said, referring to the famine crisis in both developing and richer countries. countries due to rising cost of living. .

Bucher later said that “you can accumulate as much wealth as you want, but if it all ends around you, it doesn’t make much sense.”

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