They have been around since 2010, but this is a recent article in the New Yorker that drew my attention to their existence: a bunch of millionaires – indeed multimillionaires – Americans who want to pay more taxes.
No less taxes. No more taxes.
They call themselves the “Patriotic Millionaires” and they consider that they do not contribute enough, from a fiscal point of view, to the redistribution of wealth in the United States.
We are not talking here about very wealthy people who want to give more money to the poor with their foundations.
We are talking about people who want taxation to be restructured so that they can directly contribute to public policies aimed at helping the United States to be a less unequal society.
“We are traitors to our social class and proud of it”, they say at the outset on the presentation page of their website. “We are united around our concern over the destabilizing concentration of power and wealth in the United States. “
In the New Yorker, we do a long article on one of the heiresses of Disney, Abigail Disney, who is one of the active members of the group. We learn that the gap between the wealth of her family and the poverty of the people who work in the field, at Disney, makes her uncomfortable since she was a child. And that hasn’t improved recently when she learned that in 2018 company boss Bob Iger walked away with $ 66 million in income, more than 1,400 times the median employee salary. All of this knowing that with the most recent tax measures adopted under Trump, the richest Americans pay less tax than many poorer groups.
In the group, there is also Steve Silberstein, pioneer of the computerization of libraries in the world, the famous lawyer Roberta Kaplan – who also set up the Time’s Up defense fund for the victims of #metoo -, Pat Stryker , wealthy heiress of the Stryker empire in medical technology, Lawrence Benenson of Benenson Capital Partners, cardboard giant Dennis Mehiel, fabric giant Great Neck Richman, philanthropist Molly Munger… And the list goes on.
In the campaign launched last year by these patriotic millionaires to garner attention on social media, Stephen Prince, who made his fortune printing credit cards, explains: “The working classes seem to have forgotten or are not at current that we, the rich, are in full control. We own Congress, we own the White House. We the rich are running the country to meet our needs. Not to understand that is to put your head in the sand. And that’s what’s happening, I’m afraid. “
According to Prince, endless enrichment does nothing. We all end up dying. You might as well help others.
The group, therefore, is lobbying. In particular for an increase in tax rates for the richest and also for an increase in the minimum wage. “Our laws have codified a now accepted idea that millions of Americans who work full time still live in abject poverty. Another hobbyhorse: the vote. The group wants everyone to vote and be democratically involved in the life of the city. “A very small group of people use their money to increase their political power and use that political power to increase their wealth. It’s killing our country, ”says Morris Pearl, former director of financial giant BlackRock and now director of the advisory board of Patriotic Millionaires, in Renegotiating Power and Money in America (Renegotiating Power and Money in America), a book published by the group.
These multimillionaires are not the only ones asking for measures to better redistribute wealth, measures which would directly affect them.
Several candidates for the Democratic nomination are pushing for changes that would directly affect their portfolios.
Bloomberg published the calculations.
If Elizabeth Warren implements her own plan, the one who earned $ 846,000 in 2018 would pay around 15% more in taxes.
Joe Biden: He declared $ 4.6 million in income in 2018. Under his proposals, he would pay 6% more in taxes.
Bernie Sanders? He would pay 13% more tax on his income of $ 519,529…
In Quebec, have you ever heard of wealthy business people who want to pay more taxes? Who wants to have the obligation to pay their employees more, to finance their professional training even more so that they can earn more? Who, in our own list of the most fortunate, denounces the privileged access of business people to political figures?
Apart from Alexandre Taillefer’s famous outing in favor of raising the minimum wage to $ 15, who wants the law to change so that we have more financial equality?
Obviously, our situation here is not as polarized as in the United States where, over the past 40 years, the incomes of the richest have increased by 940%, while those of the grassroots workers have increased by 12%. It’s just insane.
But Canada has also seen income disparity increase over the past 20 years. And it’s the Conference Board that says it, not Françoise David. Currently, if we divide the population of Canada into five groups with the same number of people, but classify them according to their income, the wealthiest group of Canadians together earn almost 40% of all money, while the group of The poorest Canadians – so the same number of people – earn just over 7% of the income distributed in the country.
Among the 17 most developed industrialized countries, the United States comes last in holding the sad record for the countries with the most inequalities, but Canada is in 12e up, which isn’t great. Apart from the United States, only Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom and Italy are doing worse than us. The best on this list is Denmark, followed by Norway, Belgium, and other Scandinavian countries. And France? She is in 7e square. Does she know?
Subject to be placed high on the list of topics to be discussed with our wealthy business people in 2020.