News Release

“Insane Reality”: As Wealthy Meet at Davos, Taxing them Could Provide for Humanity

As the World Economic Forum meets in Davos, Switzerland, a network of nonprofits has released a report “Taxing Extreme Wealth” about global mega wealth and the revenues that could be raised from taxing the rich.

Among the findings:

* There are 2,660 billionaires with a total combined wealth of $13.76 trillion.

* An annual wealth tax applied to the world’s richest would raise U.S. $2.52 trillion a year (with a graduated rate structure: 2 percent tax on wealth over $5 million; 3 percent on wealth over $50 million; 5 percent on wealth over $1 billion).

The groups find that such a modest annual tax on the world’s richest would “be enough to lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty” as well as “deliver universal health care and social protection for all the citizens of low and lower middle-income countries (3.6 billion people).”

The groups releasing the report include the Fight Inequality Alliance, Institute for Policy Studies, Oxfam, and Patriotic Millionaires.

“The insane reality is that whilst billions face a daily struggle to survive during this pandemic, billionaire wealth is spiraling out of control. This cannot be right,” said Jenny Ricks, Global Convenor of the Fight Inequality Alliance. “For years Davos has shown us the elites cannot and will not end the virus of inequality they have helped to create. We now have the rare opportunity to create the economy and society we want but this requires deep system change rather than a rehash of the status quo.”

“Wealth inequality has been supercharged by the pandemic, creating an unprecedented global concentration of wealth and power,” said Chuck Collins of the Institute for Policy Studies and co-author of the report.

“There is no defending a system that endlessly inflates the wealth of the world’s richest people while condemning billions to easily preventable poverty. We need deep, systemic change, and that starts with taxing rich people like me,” said Morris Pearl of the Patriotic Millionaires.

The five richest people in the United States, as of November 30, 2021, are:

1. Elon Musk, $294.2 billion
2. Jeff Bezos, $202.6 billion
3. Bill Gates, $137.4 billion
4. Larry Ellison, $125.7 billion
5. Larry Page, $122.8 billion