A Group Of Ultra-Wealthy Americans Writes Letter Asking Lawmakers To Tax Them More

Financier and philanthropist George Soros attends the official opening of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) at the German Foreign Ministry on June 8, 2017 in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Nearly 20 extremely wealthy Americans released a letter on Monday asking the 2020 presidential candidates to make them pay more in taxes. According to The New York Times, the group, which includes financier George Soros and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, believes that the richest one-tenth of the richest 1 percent of Americans have a moral obligation to pay more into the American system.

“America has a moral, ethical and economic responsibility to tax our wealth more. A wealth tax could help address the climate crisis, improve the economy, improve health outcomes, fairly create opportunity, and strengthen our democratic freedoms,” the letter reads.

The document urges lawmakers to invest the extra money into addressing issues like climate change, student loan debt relief, and universal childcare. It also calls for updating the country’s ailing infrastructure and implementing a tax break for lower-income families.

“In our republic, it is the patriotic duty of all Americans to contribute what they can to the success of the country, and the wealthiest are no exception. Others have put far more on the line for America. Those of us in the richest 1/10 of the richest 1% should be proud to pay a bit more of our fortune forward to America’s future,” the letter reads.

Along with Soros and Hughes, Disney heir Abigail Disney, entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, daughter of Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Molly Munger, and Asana co-founder Justin Rosenstein also signed the letter. All told, 18 individuals, including one anonymous person, signed onto the message, which specifically refers to a plan by Senator Elizabeth Warren to create a wealth tax for households that have more than $50 million in assets.

The message comes after a recent analysis revealed that the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans have seen their net worth grow by $21 trillion, while those in the bottom 50 percent of incomes in the U.S. saw their net worth fall by $900 billion. Warren’s plan would impact 75,000 families and raise $2.75 trillion over 10 years.

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Right now, it is estimated that the richest 0.1 percent will pay 3.2 percent in taxes this year, while the bottom 99 percent pays 7.2 percent.

The idea of a wealth tax is popular with voters, with seven out of 10 Americans saying they support a tax increase on the wealthiest citizens. Other presidential contenders have made tax proposals, like one presented by Senator Bernie Sanders.

The letter asserts that a wealth tax would strengthen democracy and help assure American freedom. Ian Simmons and Liesel Pritzker Simmons, co-founders of the Blue Haven Initiative, said they came up with the idea for the letter and wanted to reach out to others who would support the idea.