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A service for political professionals · Monday, February 26, 2024 · 691,484,318 Articles · 3+ Million Readers

Wealth Tax Gains Backing by the Mega-Rich

January 25, 2024
My most recent "It’s Always Something" post (https://www.joerothstein.net/blog/should-there-be-a-wealth-cap) drew quite a reader reaction, mainly to the effect that my suggestion for a $10 billion cap on wealth would be illegal and unworkable and that Elizabeth Warren’s proposal for a 2% tax on billionaires would be tied up for years in court and easily evaded.

Well, purely by coincidence, a few days after I published that blog, the group Patriotic Millionaires released the results of a remarkable poll. They commissioned the respected British research firm Survation to ask 2,385 billionaires and millionaires living in G20 countries their views about the very topics I raised in my blog.


Highlights of the Poll

- 75% support a 2% wealth tax on billionaires

- 58% support the introduction of a 2% wealth tax for people with more than $10 million

- 54% think that extreme wealth is a threat to democracy

- 72% think that extreme wealth helps buy political influence

- 70% think the economy would be stronger if we increased taxes on extreme wealth to invest in public services and national infrastructure


As if that wasn’t surprising enough, the poll results were presented to the power elite at the World Economic Forum meeting at Davos last week along with a letter from more than 250 billionaires and millionaires demanding support for wealth taxes to help pay for better public services around the world.

The letter was about as direct as it gets in politics: “Our request is simple: we ask you to tax us, the very richest in society. This will not fundamentally alter our standard of living, nor deprive our children, nor harm our nation’s economic growth. But it will turn extreme and unproductive private wealth into an investment for our common democratic future.”


Division Among the Mega-Rich

It appears that just like most of the rest of society these days, there’s division between the mega-rich who see the dire consequences of the wealth chasm and those who don’t.

Note, Elizabeth Warren’s proposal would add a wealth tax for those with $50 million, while 58% of those in the poll would go considerably lower, and tax themselves starting at $10 million.

Fine, you say, polls are polls. But legislation to achieve any of this is impossible with so much money and power blocking action in Congress.


A Voluntary Wealth Tax

I have a suggestion to help overcome that. In the absence of tax legislation, those who see the danger should voluntarily pay a wealth tax anyway, or place that money in an interest-earning escrow fund that becomes so large—literally hundreds of billions or trillions+--that budget-conscious legislators ultimately could not resist tapping into.

Voluntary payment would destroy the most significant objections to a wealth tax, that net worth would be difficult to calculate (not if the rich are agreeing with the assessment) and the tax could easily be avoided (not if many are willing to pay it).

Meanwhile, three cheers for the group Patriotic Millionaires. And pitchfork lapel pins for the mega-rich who fail to see the risks to society by not joining them.



Joe Rothstein is a political strategist and media producer who worked in more than 200 campaigns for political office and political causes. He also has served as editor of the Anchorage Daily News and as an adjunct professor at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management. He has a master's degree in journalism from UCLA. Mr. Rothstein is the author of award-winning political thrillers, The Latina President and the Conspiracy to Destroy Her, The Salvation Project, and The Moment of Menace. For more information, please visit his website at https://www.joerothstein.net/.