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posted by janrinok on Thursday January 20, @09:29AM   Printer-friendly
from the yes,-you-read-that-right! dept.

Millionaires ask to pay more tax:

A group of more than 100 of the world's richest people have called on governments to make them pay more tax. The group, named the Patriotic Millionaires, said the ultra-wealthy were not being forced to pay their share towards the global economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

"As millionaires, we know that the current tax system is not fair," they said in an open letter. The signatories included Disney heiress Abigail Disney and Nick Hanauer. Mr Hanauer is a US entrepreneur and an early investor in online retail giant Amazon.

"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," the signatories said in the letter to the World Economic Forum.

[...] It said globally, $2.52tn could lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty and make enough vaccines for the world.

Gemma McGough, British entrepreneur and founding member of Patriotic Millionaires, UK said: "For all our well-being - rich and poor alike - it's time we right the wrongs of an unequal world. It's time we tax the rich."

Ms McGough added: "At a time when simply living will cost the average household a further £1,200 a year, our government cannot expect to be trusted if it would rather tax working people than wealthy people.


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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by deimtee on Thursday January 20, @12:35PM (40 children)

    by deimtee (3272) on Thursday January 20, @12:35PM (#1214128) Journal

    The asset holding class have successfully defined the argument as being about who should pay how much income tax. The main argument in favour being that income is easier to track.
    I think we should instead tax wealth and over time drop income tax to zero.

    Decide how much money your country's government needs to run. Call this T.
    Add up the total privately owned wealth in the country, all of it. Call this W.
    Your tax rate should then be (T / W) (x 100%). Charge that against W.

    eg, The USA needs $4 trillion a year. The total wealth in the USA is $225 trillion.
    Your tax rate should be 1.7%, payable by the owners of W.

    For us in AU,
    W = $20 Trillion
    T = 0.55 Trillion
    Tax should be 2.7%.

    --
    No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +3  
       Insightful=1, Interesting=1, Informative=1, Total=3
    Extra 'Informative' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   5  
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @12:56PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @12:56PM (#1214131)

    The "little" people have to pay income tax. Mostly they just have income.

    The asset class can't really be wealth taxed as it will destroy the value of what you're taxing. Tax bezos.. he has to sell his shares. Value of shares drop.

    Who else owns amazon stock? Retirement funds. So guess what's not happening. It's a suicide pact.

    They can, however, push for higher income tax. Gullible will fall for it. Check out how the administration requires reporting of online services with more than $600 of financial movement. That was definitely to go after the "millionaires" and "billionaires".

    It's pretty clear where the money comes from for the majority of government spending. They could confiscate ALL of these people's income and it wouldn't be enough to fund much. They want yours.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @02:16PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @02:16PM (#1214152)

      if the value of shares drops significantly because someone sells them, it means they didn't have value in the first place.
      hence the term "CORRECTION" being associated to bubbles bursting.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @05:56PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @05:56PM (#1214243)

        It can also mean that a major holder sold more than the market could bear, causing the price to go below fair value. The same principle applies to physical goods as well.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @07:07PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @07:07PM (#1214284)

          Or shorting companies, that is what the whole gamestop thing is about.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @07:10AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @07:10AM (#1214465)

          if any one person sells more than the market can bear, it means something outside the market is destabilizing it.
          for instance if the village chicken farmer gets cancer, and suddenly needs to pay huge medical bills, therefore attempting to sell all his chickens at once (and the price of chickens in the village drops), the problem is outside the market (medical insurance). obviously the example is stupid because there are enough villages, towns and whole cities for the "chickens needed for medical bills" amount not to affect the chicken price.

          in the case of ten humans nominally holding a huge percentage of "world wealth", because their stocks have large prices, there are probably many reasons for it, mostly multiple forms of corruption. I doubt any individual human can solve this problem quickly (especially in an online forum), but I will suggest that fighting corruption wherever it is found is a good way forward.

          by corruption I mean, here, any situation where people are getting benefits in non-transparent ways.
          "good-looking people have higher salaries than ugly people" is corruption.
          "transfer the bad stocks to the pension fund" is corruption.
          "don't fine the multinationals because their friends can hurt us through our business dealings" is also corruption (despite the apparent care for the countries finances, which supposedly help with education, health, infrastructure etc).

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Immerman on Friday January 21, @12:42AM

      by Immerman (3985) on Friday January 21, @12:42AM (#1214402)

      >The asset class can't really be wealth taxed as it will destroy the value of what you're taxing. Tax bezos.. he has to sell his shares. Value of shares drop.

      Bullshit. The value of shares = the value of the company / number of shares. That doesn't change just because someone sells a few shares - if it did then every publicly traded stock in the world would tank immediately.

      If you get a bunch of people selling shares in a company at once then that does tend to drive the price of the stock down, but only because everyone else assumes that the sellers know something they don't - i.e. there's a "secret" problem that means the value of the company is actually lower than the current price.

  • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @01:44PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @01:44PM (#1214145)

    Inflation is a wealth tax. All those debt-and-inflation financed handouts from the past couple of years are being paid for exactly that way.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by deimtee on Thursday January 20, @02:00PM (2 children)

      by deimtee (3272) on Thursday January 20, @02:00PM (#1214148) Journal

      It certainly is not. It is a tax on cash only (and held debt), which is a very small proportion of wealth.
      The $value of non-cash assets goes up at least as much as inflation.

      --
      No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @03:32AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @03:32AM (#1214446)

        > The $value of non-cash assets goes up at least as much as inflation.

        It's literally the definition.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 23, @06:30AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 23, @06:30AM (#1214926)

          It's a large part of it, but inflation also includes the rise in $ for services.

  • (Score: 2) by Rich on Thursday January 20, @04:43PM (4 children)

    by Rich (945) on Thursday January 20, @04:43PM (#1214214) Journal

    I've had the same thoughts and fully agree (and gave you an "Insightful", because I think that is an insight that too few have made so far). It is entirely stupid to punish people for working, and even punish them more for working harder if you want them to work a lot in the interest of general welfare.

    However, you'll have to have some protectionist measures in place that will avoid everyone operating from foreign soil and just having dirt poor holdings locally. E.g. sum up the revenue a non-local company makes locally, under all owned brands and elsewhere, calculate the percentage of total revenue of that multinational, and use that percentage from the market cap as their wealth you're going to tax. If they want to do business and have their IP protected, they'll have to pony up.

    You'll also have to have measures in places to avoid money flowing abroad (immigrants western-unioning everything to their family, or elite members passing their gold coin collection to an offshore trust in a suitcase).

    Also, it is difficult to assess wealth, but that could be done with anyone rating their property on their own, where anyone on the market can purchase stuff for a significant markup. E.g. you have a little house you rent out (or a mint V12 E-Type), which you value at 100k, and pay taxes for that wealth. Anyone else can come along and pay you 150k and 50k taxes on top (to make it harder to abuse) to get the car. Protections apply for things personally needed.

    Finally, what's also much overlooked is that the state provides the monetary system, a rather important service, because the state is so mighty that people believe it is worth something if printed paper is given out. (At least it appears to be more reliable than Monkey-NFTs...) Any transaction, from buying a loaf of bread to high-speed stock trading would be subject to 1% fee, or some other low percentage for the service. That's less than your usual payment provider wants, in exchange for a much more valuabe service. Drop VAT in exchange, for much welcome simplification.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by deimtee on Thursday January 20, @06:20PM (2 children)

      by deimtee (3272) on Thursday January 20, @06:20PM (#1214254) Journal

      Obviously a full proposal would be a lot more complex.
      Some additional possibilities;
      - You get the choice of a primary residence exception, but pay a double rate on everything else.
      - You can be forced to sell any major asset at X% of your self-valuation. Only way to stop it is to re-value at the higher price and pay back taxes at the new value. (X is debatable, but I would vote for 150%, two years )

      The problem with transaction taxes is they are regressive and intrusive. They also tend to climb over time. Taxing static wealth actually encourages people to do something with it.

      --
      No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
      • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday January 21, @01:04AM (1 child)

        by Immerman (3985) on Friday January 21, @01:04AM (#1214414)

        >- You can be forced to sell any major asset at X% of your self-valuation...
        I believe some states handle property tax that way. There's a few problems though, among them...

        - it lets the rich run roughshod over everyone else, *especially* the poor. I want your property, I can force you to sell it to me by offering more than you can afford to pay the back-taxes on. If you're just getting by, that's almost anything more than the current "official" value.

        - it lets the rich avoid taxes - you can value your property extremely low, but still higher than 99(.99...)% of people could afford - while the remaining potential buyers are all part of the same tax-dodging country club and are very unlikely to rock the boat by trying to force a sale. And even if they did, you have lots of other assets to pay the back-taxes with, unless there';s huge

        - there's essentially no reason NOT to severely undervalue your property - someone tries to force a sale, and you've got to pay a few years taxes at the rate you should have been paying anyway? Score! You still dodged many years of fair taxes. There's no down side.

        The last one could potentially be partially addressed by much more severe penalties - but that makes the first problem worse.

        • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Friday January 21, @02:23AM

          by deimtee (3272) on Friday January 21, @02:23AM (#1214427) Journal

          Those are all easily corrected problems.
          Have a low-value exemption for sentimental personal items. Also a minimum time between the offer and the forced sale so a rich asshole can't just pay $1500 for your $1000 clunker and leave you stranded in the desert.

          If you value your home at say, $300,000, then [nasty rich person] has to pony up $450,000 to force you to sell. Cool. Take the money and buy a nicer house. They won't stay rich long if they get their kicks paying 150% of market value for the stuff the poor own.

          Also, make them follow through. If someone lodges a "force a sale" claim, then they must lodge a 5% deposit. If the owner doesn't raise the valuation to match then they must purchase it, else the deposit goes to the owner to compensate for dealing with a frivolous claim. If the sale does go through you now have a new higher valuation to charge the new owner taxes on.

          If the owner does raise the valuation then the claimant gets their deposit back and 5% of the additional tax revenue. A new occupation will arise of looking for undervalued assets.

          Note that a forced sale is fundamentally different to just offering to buy. You can't harass someone by offering 140% and raising their tax bill. You have to lodge a claim and deposit with the taxman. The counter to any harassment is simply going to be to take the money.

          Note that the probable outcome of this is that everyone will value things at about 2/3 of market value. Just high enough to make a forced sale uneconomical. There is a trade-off, and it might take some adjusting of X to find the best rate. Higher X leads to more undervaluing and lower taxes, but more penalties. Lower X leads to the overhead of more forced sales but higher assessed taxable assets.

          --
          No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @09:41PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @09:41PM (#1214358)

      It is difficult to have the right amount of protectionist measures.

      China has protectionist measures on wealth. Wealthy Chinese have come up with all sorts of schemes to get their money out of China but I imagine it mostly hurts the middle class looking to move.

      I suspect any attempt by a western nation to impose restrictions on movement of capital would be compared to China, and (rightly or not) nobody wants to be compared to China these days. And that's on top of the issue of none of the wealthy (or wannabe wealthy) politicians wanting to do anything that disadvantages themselves or their donors.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @05:01PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @05:01PM (#1214221)

    "Decide how much money your country's government needs to run."

    The problem is that the government has gotten WAY too big already.

    Politicians funnel money into programs because they have a cousin invested or their aunt is one of the partners or their uncle works there. Look at Joe Biden and Hunter Biden with the Ukraine. They had to give his crack head son (with a history of doing crack) a 600K+ a year job because Joe Biden used his power as vice president to help him out. That guy was not deserving of such a job at all. Then CNN defended them saying how great and honest the Bidens are. Also is Hunter Biden's art really worth as much as he sells it for?

    Look at the stuff that happens in New York. Money that's supposed to go to fix the homeless problem ends up getting funneled into government officials with huge salaries. Now there is more and more crime, more and more homelessness, etc...

    The TSA is another waste of money. We have so many redundant agencies in defense and whatnot as well.

    The solution is never to just keep giving the government more and more money, they will simply find more and more ways to squander it. We need to hold them accountable for all its wasteful spending. Trying to solve a problem by giving the government more money is no different than trying to solve a problem by giving a drug addict more money. It doesn't work.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @03:35AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @03:35AM (#1214447)

      Uh, Space Force to the rescue?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @05:14PM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @05:14PM (#1214225)

    "The asset holding class ..."

    Wealth is inversely proportional to number of children.

    Those that have the most children tend to be poor. Those that are the most irresponsible tend to be poor and have more and more children.

    The problem is that we have limited assets/natural resources and we have way more people. So we need to figure out how to get irresponsible people to stop having so many children.

    Assets are subject to the laws of supply and demand like anything else. We have more people and the same supply of natural resources so those available resources become more and more scarce per person.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @06:23PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @06:23PM (#1214256)

      Assess the value of the children. Add that to the tax bill. (If you can't agree to the value, put them up for auction and see what they bring.)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @06:41PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @06:41PM (#1214267)

        uhm ... I imagine they would bring ... $0 ... I see what you did there ... that's messed up.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @06:34PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @06:34PM (#1214262)

      Also we need to control immigration. Especially illegal immigration. Immigrants (and likely illegal immigrants) are likely the ones that have the most children since they tend to be less educated and education tends to be inversely related to number of children as well.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @06:38PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @06:38PM (#1214265)

        (ie: people that come here illegally don't even have to pass any test so they are likely to be even less educated and have even more children. Of course this makes sense to all other countries because pretty much all other countries do a much better job of controlling illegal immigration than the U.S. but in the U.S. even criticizing the government's failure to address the problem is discrimination and not politically correct).

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday January 21, @04:00AM (1 child)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 21, @04:00AM (#1214453) Journal

        Also we need to control immigration.

        I take it by "we" you mean the US? The US controls immigration fairly well. The real problem is not the control of immigration, but the bureaucracy that's been thrown in the way of immigrants. That's wasting a lot of economic energy that would be better put to use elsewhere.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @05:19PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @05:19PM (#1214538)

          We don't want the U.S. to be more densely populated. We also don't want the rest of the world to be densely populated. High population densities are undesirable and perhaps if the rest of the world wasn't as densely populated it would be more desirable as well.

          However, just because the rest of the world is irresponsible and keeps on having way too many children doesn't mean we should just keep allowing more and more people into the U.S. to also make it more densely populated.

          There needs to be some level of population control.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday January 21, @03:56AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 21, @03:56AM (#1214452) Journal

      Assets are subject to the laws of supply and demand like anything else. We have more people and the same supply of natural resources so those available resources become more and more scarce per person.

      Assets have a tenuous relationship to resources. You can get a lot of asset from an amount of resource. Bitcoin is a great example. The primary ingredient from the resource point of view was electricity and that's a sunk cost for any bitcoins presently in existence.

  • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Thursday January 20, @05:23PM (10 children)

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday January 20, @05:23PM (#1214230) Homepage Journal

    I can't agree with that at all; property tax is the worst of all taxes. Income is new, property isn't. I knew a man whose retired parents became homeless because the tax on their house rose to four times the mortgage payment had been.

    The problem is that for most of the rich, their income isn't taxed as income. Raise the capital gains tax to 75% like income tax was in the '50s and make payments yearly, like income tax, instead of when they sell the asset, because they never have to sell the assets. Your property tax isn't going to fix that problem.

    --
    Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @05:46PM (9 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @05:46PM (#1214238)

      I knew a man whose retired parents became homeless because the tax on their house rose to four times the mortgage payment had been.

      Even a long term mortgage payment is usually around 10% of the property value per year. I find it hard to believe there is a place with a 40% annual property tax.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @07:04PM (8 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @07:04PM (#1214281)

        It doesn't matter. Allowing yourself to be subject to property tax means you never own your home and the property it sits on. Which means once you get past working age you may be in trouble if you don't have family or a large nest egg. it's ridiculous on it's face to all but the most sycophantic slaves.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @07:14PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @07:14PM (#1214289)

          uhm ... if you collect social security and own your property ... the government pays your property tax? (though sometimes owning property may ... affect your ability to collect social security?).

        • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday January 21, @01:11AM (5 children)

          by Immerman (3985) on Friday January 21, @01:11AM (#1214416)

          Hint - you can never own land. It was there for billions of years before you came along, and will be there for billions of years after you're dead. Many civilized (aka non-European) cultures recognize that you are at most the current caretaker of the land. But those cultures tended to lose their land to the Europeans who believed it could be owned, and had the benefit of iron, gunpowder, and endemic bio-weapons with which to steal it. (Americans for example got curb-stomped because there are no surface deposits of iron on the continents to have enabled a transition to the iron age)

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @07:38PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @07:38PM (#1214579)

            Right. You never own anything because one day you will dieeeee!!!!!!11!!

            That's not what ownership means, try again. Maybe this time you'll impress people over middle school age.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @10:14PM (3 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @10:14PM (#1214649)

            What do you think the Indian tribes did amongst themselves before the white man ever showed up? They fought each other over who owned the land. Use the word "control" instead if your concept of ownership is limited to signed deeds. Some tribes dominated the others, and the others hated it. Killing galore to try to get on top. So, contrary to your racist theory, the Indians are just like people everywhere. Were it not so, Hernán Cortés could not have conquered all of Mexico with just a handful of Spaniards against a well-developed and sizable Aztec army. It was the hordes of other oppressed (by the Aztecs) Indian tribes who fought on the side of the Spaniards that allowed the conquest of Mexico.

            • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday January 21, @11:46PM (2 children)

              by Immerman (3985) on Friday January 21, @11:46PM (#1214665)

              Controlling something is a *very* different relationship than owning it.

              Your boss (nominally) controls you at work - they do NOT own you. A feudal lord controlled their vassals, and their peasants even more so, but did NOT own them either.

              There are very important distinctions between the relationships - most prominently you have every right to destroy what you own on a whim.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @12:50PM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @12:50PM (#1214768)

                The lord did own the peasants, indirectly. The peasants belong to the lands, the lands are granted to the lord...

                • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Saturday January 22, @02:44PM

                  by Immerman (3985) on Saturday January 22, @02:44PM (#1214786)

                  The peasants were bound to the land, they did not belong to it (what would that even mean?)

                  The lord couldn't do what he willed to the peasants. He could not kick them off the land, nor kill them without justification, nor breed them like livestock, nor...

                  There was bondage in the eyes of the law, but not ownership. Perhaps a bit more akin to indentured servitude, though really that was an entirely different third kind of relationship.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @03:42AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @03:42AM (#1214448)

          Property tax pays for sewers, roads, running water, as well as *spit* education for poor bastards. The idea being that those are so important you cannot opt out of contributing to them. As those services diminish, you should rightly pay less property tax.

  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday January 20, @07:42PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday January 20, @07:42PM (#1214302)

    Property (real estate) tax works very much like this.

    Most US schools are funded by property taxes - which really pisses off some old people who "don't have children."

    House we bought in Houston (Clear Lake area) was $160K to purchase, $5K/yr property taxes in 2003.

    --
    Україна не входить до складу Росії.
  • (Score: 2, Flamebait) by ChrisMaple on Friday January 21, @12:34AM (2 children)

    by ChrisMaple (6964) on Friday January 21, @12:34AM (#1214400)

    Income tax is a tax on the reward for productive effort, which is a fundamental human virtue. Hence, an income tax is inherently an attack on moral behavior.

    A property tax is better because just holding property is an inaction divorced from morality.

    A major moral problem with changing from an income tax to a property tax is that new wealth will end up being double taxed, first as the innovator earns it and second after those earnings are turned into property.

    The overriding problem is that federal taxes are 5 to 10 times what they should be, and state taxes about 2 times what they should be. If taxes were reduced to reasonable values (preventing slime like Fauci from becoming a multimillionaire in government employ) few people would be seriously upset by the form of taxation.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @01:43AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @01:43AM (#1214422)

      A major moral problem with changing from an income tax to a property tax is that new wealth will end up being double taxed, first as the innovator earns it and second after those earnings are turned into property.

      The proposal is to drop income tax entirely. There is no tax as you earn it.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @03:35PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @03:35PM (#1214507)

        Problem is, it's not just income tax. It's every other tax that touches the productive process, from stamp duties to eximport rates. It's sales taxes to B&O taxes.

        If you want to have a blanket tax, payroll or sales are likelier places to start because they will get pretty much anything major done with any substantial assets.