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Damir Kaletovic

Damir Kaletovic

Writer, Safehaven.com

Damir Kaletovic is an award-winning investigative journalist, documentary filmmaker and expert on Southeastern Europe whose work appears on behalf of Safehaven.com.

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America's Richest Are Begging To Be Taxed

Tax

The world loves to hear America’s billionaires pining away for higher taxes, and it seems to be a trend that is gaining momentum in this new era of over-the-top capitalism.  This week has taken things further, with a record 19 U.S. billionaires sending a letter to "Presidential Candidates 2020" with one very significant message, and one equally significant request: "A moderate wealth tax on the fortunes of the richest one-tenth of the richest 1% of Americans-on us." 

Among the signatories of the letter are many prominent names, including Abigail Disney, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, investor George Soros, and Blue Haven Initiative co-founders Liesel Pritzker Simmons and Ian Simmons .... 

The letter comes at a time when a Federal Reserve report finds that over the last three decades, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans saw their net worth grow by $21 trillion, while the wealth of the bottom 50 percent fell by $900 billion. 

Something’s got to give, and America’s billionaires seem to think it’s them. 

The Group of 19 put forward six reasons for writing their letter and insisting on a wealth tax. 

Each reason will play a high-profile role in 2020 elections: Raising money to fight climate change, boosting economic growth, supporting investment in public health, reducing the wealth gap, strengthening American democracy and giving billionaires an opportunity to fulfill their “patriotic” duty. 

“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. We’ll be fine — taking on this tax is the least we can do to strengthen the country we love,” the letter states.  

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Since then, other billionaires have jumped on the bandwagon. A day after the letter was published, Eli Broad, entrepreneur and philanthropist, came out in support of the initiative, writing in the NYT: “I’m in the 1 Percent. please, raise my taxes. I'm not an economist but I have watched my wealth grow exponentially thanks to federal policies that have cut my tax rates while wages for regular people have stagnated and poverty rates have increased [...]”. 

The timing was impeccable, as the stage is set for 2020 elections. 

But it’s worth noting that America is home to over 600 billionaires, and the letter represents only 3% of those. Still, we aren’t just talking about billionaires here--we’re talking about the 1/10 of the top earners of the 1-percenters. 

Runaway inequality is a driving theme of today’s socio-economic policy, and this latest initiative by 19 billionaires coincides with a proposal from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to levy a 2-percent tax on fortunes worth more than $50 million and a 3-percent tax on fortunes worth more than $ 1 billion ... 

From the billionaires’ perspective, this is what will truly ‘Make America Great Again’. And they may be taking their cue from Anglo-Irish political philosopher Edmund Burke, who famously noted: "If we command our wealth, we will be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed."

Regardless, it is now a Democratic campaign theme that has the potential to disrupt because it represents the first time in history that the wealthy are coming out in droves not only in support of being taxed, but demanding to be taxed.

By Damir Kaletovic for SafeHaven.com

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