Patriotic Millionaires to United Nations: Tax the Rich, Save the World

If you’re serious about taxing the rich, you have to think globally. Over the last few years, the Patriotic Millionaires have made an urgent case for immediate international cooperation on tax fairness. Slowly, but surely, we are breaking through. And last week, we took our unique message to an audience who had never heard it quite the way the Patriotic Millionaires tell it: the United Nations.

On Monday, March 18th, our President and Founder, Erica Payne, spoke at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 2024 Special Meeting on International Cooperation in Tax Matters. The meeting aimed to “identify effective approaches to fiscal policies for inclusive and sustainable development and to support a fair, inclusive, and effective international tax system.” Speakers included members of the UN Tax Committee, officials from national tax authorities and treasuries, leading academics, and civil society leaders.

In her speech, Erica highlighted the existential threat posed by extreme wealth to our democracy and way of life. In short: tax the rich, save the world. It is that simple.

Below are her remarks in full, which you can also view HERE.

Hi, everyone. Thank you so much for having us. Distinguished panelists and participants, we’re delighted to be with you.

I’m here representing a powerful and growing network of millionaires from across the world, who are using their public voices and their private influence to raise the alarm about the threat posed by the concentrated wealth and power of the global billionaire class.

There are Patriotic Millionaire chapters in the United States and in the U.K., and over the last three years, nearly 1000 millionaires from across the globe have joined us in calling on governments to tax extreme wealth.

To be clear, this is not an act of kindness or of philanthropy. It is in our own self-interest. The far right is on the rise around the world. If we do not address the twin crises of wealth concentration and inequality, we will face in the next decade the wholesale dismantling and eventual death of liberal democracy, of justice, and of basic human freedom.

To be clear, we are not any more altruistic than the next person. We are just greedy for a different kind of world than a lot of other rich people. Extreme wealth and extreme poverty are on the rise. Tax rates on the uber-rich have collapsed across the world. Over the last decade, the richest 1% have captured half of all of the new wealth created, and it is not because they are twice as talented as everyone else in the world. It’s how the system has been designed.

Since 2020, 5 billionaires have doubled their wealth, while 5 billion of the poorest people in this world got even poorer. Children starve while billionaires fly their rockets into space.

You may not care how much money a person has, but you likely do care how much power someone has. When too much money turns into too much power, it threatens us all.

The frog trusted the scorpion. He carried the scorpion across the river, and then the scorpion killed the frog. On behalf of 1000 millionaires from around the world, I beg you, do not make the same mistake. 

There are no benevolent billionaires. There are no public-minded plutocrats. We can and should ask how to tax the rich. We can and should ask how much to tax the rich. But alongside these questions, we must also ask ourselves the most important question of all: “What will happen if we don’t tax extreme wealth?”

That will not end well for anyone, including millionaires. The single only way to preserve the chance of freedom and democracy, the only way to save this planet and humanity, is to tax extreme wealth before it’s too late.

Yes, the math might be a little complicated. I trust you all can figure that out. The principle itself is not complicated.

Tax the rich. Save the world. It is that simple. Thank you.


Erica’s speech could not be more timely. As we mentioned a few weeks back, finance ministers and central bank governors from G20 countries have begun discussing the idea of implementing a global minimum tax on billionaires. So far, seven countries – India, South Africa, France, China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Japan – have voiced their support for the proposal, but for it to work in our increasingly connected world, more countries will have to commit.

As Erica stressed in her UN remarks, there is simply too much at stake for world leaders to fail to meet this moment. Runaway, extreme wealth is a threat to democracy across the planet. Now the United Nations has heard our demand: tax us, the ultra-rich, and save the world. It is that simple.

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