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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: 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.

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  • (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.