A group of 83 millionaires has called on governments around the world to “immediately,” “substantially,” and “permanently” raise taxes on them and the rest of the wealthy elite to help fund economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an open letter posted online, Millionaires for Humanity warned that the economic fallout from the pandemic will last for decades and could “push half a billion more people into poverty.” The group is concerned that hundreds of millions of people could lose their jobs as businesses close permanently. They also directed attention to the fact that nearly a billion children are out of school, while hospitals are short on beds, PPEs, and ventilators; all this due to a lack of investment in public health systems worldwide.
According to the organization, millionaires have a critical role to play in healing the world, and government leaders must take responsibility for raising the funds needed and spending them fairly. They believe that a permanent tax increase on the world’s wealthiest people would help ensure adequate funding for health systems, schools, and security.
Those who signed the letter include Disney heirs Tim and Abigail Disney, British screenwriter and director Richard Curtis, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream co-founder Jerry Greenfield, and Irish venture capitalist John O’Farrell. They were joined by other millionaires from countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK.
The open letter was released ahead of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting held virtually in July of 2020.
It also coincided with the release of a United Nations report that revealed the underfed population of the world increased by 10 million last year. It also warned that the COVID-19 pandemic could push as many as 83 to 132 million more people into chronic hunger in 2020.
Over the past few months, there have been repeated calls for the world’s wealthiest to donate more to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Although many millionaires and billionaires have taken action, there are many others who have been criticized for either not donating enough, or not donating at all.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and currently the world’s richest person, saw his wealth increase by $75 billion to $189 billion this year. However, critics pointed out that his $100 million donation represents less than 0.1% of his fortune.
At present, there are over 500,000 people globally considered “ultra-wealthy” with a net worth of over $30 million. This means that the global population of wealthy people is greater than the total population of places like Iceland, the Bahamas, and Brunei.