The Patriotic Millionaires have a very simple message for the world: “Je suis riche, taxez-moi!”
Our organization was recently profiled in a feature-length piece in Le Monde, the most circulated newspaper in France and one of the top newspapers in all of Europe. This is a pretty big deal, and will undoubtedly attract more public interest in our mission across the world. Our Chair, Morris Pearl, and Vice-Chair, Stephen Prince, were featured in the article, along with several of our UK members, including Gary Stevenson, Phil White, Dale Vince, James Perry, Guy Singh-Watson, and Gemma McGough. (Other millionaires outside the US and UK who are supportive of our cause were also featured, most notably Marlene Engelhorn of taxmenow.) In the piece, all of our members shared their personal motivations for joining our organization and adding their voice to our call to tax the rich. We highly recommend reading the article in full, which you can access HERE.
The profile in Le Monde was the result of something important: the message of the Patriotic Millionaires is breaking through. In August, Morris addressed members of the Brazilian Parliament, and his speech was covered by the BBC. Morris underscored the importance of thinking globally on tax issues, and implored Brazil – which holds the Presidency of the G20 in 2024 – to include wealth taxation as part of their formal G20 agenda.
If you remember, we also ran a successful letter campaign ahead of the G20 summit held in New Delhi, India last month. We gathered signatures from over 300 millionaires, economists, and politicians – including 18 former heads of state – in an open letter that called on the heads of the G20 countries attending the summit to tax extreme wealth. This letter also attracted a significant amount of media attention, with critical hits in The Guardian, Financial Times, The Telegraph, Al Jazeera, Daily Mail, and Le Monde. In total, our G20 letter campaign attracted over 350 media hits in 27 countries.
Morris’ speech to the Brazilian members, in combination with our G20 letter, made a significant impact: Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad announced at recent IMF meetings in Marrakesh that Brazil intends to make implementing a fairer international tax system one of their five financial priorities during their G20 Presidency. This is a big deal.
Interest in our agenda continues to grow. A new report on tax evasion by the EU Tax Observatory, a research body affiliated with the Paris School of Economics and directed by Gabriel Zucman, one of the foremost economists on inequality and a recent recipient of the prestigious John Bates Clark Medal, has caused quite a stir.
The report unearthed some positive developments on the global tax evasion front, most notably that offshore tax evasion by wealthy individuals has declined by a factor of three over the last ten years thanks to the automatic exchange of bank information spearheaded by the Obama Administration in 2010. But unfortunately, there is still a long way to go to ensure that the global rich pay what they rightfully owe in taxes. The report found that global billionaires pay very low personal effective tax rates equivalent to 0% to 0.5% of their wealth; further, when looking at all taxes paid (corporate taxes, payroll taxes, consumption taxes, etc.), billionaires pay lower tax rates than all other income groups. The Observatory ends the report by recommending, among other things, the introduction of a 2% global minimum wealth tax on the world’s 2,756 billionaires, which, according to their estimates, has the potential to raise nearly $250 billion in revenue.
Morris offered his thoughts about the report and the urgent need to tax extreme wealth, both here at home and around the world, in an interview on Monday with BBC World Service Radio. You can listen to the interview HERE.
This isn’t the first time that we’ve made a splash in the international media market. Every year, along with several of our allies, the Patriotic Millionaires launch major initiatives during the week of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. This past January, we organized a letter campaign among millionaires that called on the world leaders attending Davos to address the crisis of extreme wealth by taxing the ultra rich. The letter attracted over 200 signatures and was featured in high profile outlets such as The Guardian, CNBC, CBS News, and Fast Company. In total, our 2023 Davos campaign garnered nearly 1,700 media hits in a whopping 95 countries. (We will have a lot to say for next year’s Davos meeting, being held in January of 2024. Stay tuned!)
Extreme economic inequality is a global problem which requires global solutions. While income and wealth inequalities are particularly egregious here at home – nine of the top ten wealthiest billionaires are Americans – it is naïve to think that we can solve our problem alone in our globalized, financially connected world. That’s why we consider our work on the international front to be so important.
Our message for the world – “I’m rich, tax me!” – is being heard loud and clear around the world. We’ll keep shouting it from the rooftops until someone does something about it.