[REN #928] COVID-19: Millionaires Call for Wealth Tax to “Heal the World”

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COVID-19: Millionaires Call for Wealth Tax to “Heal the World”, Real Estate News for Investors Podcast Episode #928 Header

Multi-millionaires around the world are renewing their call for a wealth tax. This time, they say it’s needed to help heal the world from this pandemic.

There are 83 ultra-wealthy individuals who signed an open letter this last week, asking their respective governments to raise taxes for people like them. (1) They call themselves “Millionaires for Humanity” and say this tax should be imposed “immediately, substantially, and permanently.” 

Millionaires for Humanity

The letter says the pandemic could push a half a billion people into poverty and acknowledges the work of individuals who are providing essential services. It says, “We are not the ones caring for the sick in intensive care wards. We are not driving the ambulances that will bring the ill to hospitals. We are not restocking grocery store shelves or delivering food door to door. But, we do have money, lots of it. So please. Tax us. Tax us. Tax us.”

They say the magic bullet will not come from charitable donations. Instead, they say, “Government leaders must take the responsibility for raising the funds we need and spending them fairly.”

Some of the people who added their names to the letter are Disney heirs Abigail Disney and her brother Tim, movie director Amy Ziering, “Four Weddings and a Funeral” director Richard Curtis, Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream co-founder Jerry Greenfield, venture capitalist William Janeway, and BlackRock managing director Morris Pearl.

In an interview with CBS MoneyWatch, Pearl said he doesn’t work for a living and has seen his wealth grow during the pandemic because of stock market gains. But he says, “There are millions of people who aren’t able to earn anything — they don’t have earnings from a stock portfolio.” (2)

He says, “Having a few rich people and a lot of poor people won’t work in the long term. It might be fun to make more millions this month or next month, but over the long run I want my children and grandchildren to have the opportunities that I did — and they won’t be able to if we don’t change course.”

The Patriotic Millionaires

The Millionaires for Humanity are affiliated with “The Patriotic Millionaires” which is led by Morris Pearl. (3) The group says on the website that members are advocating for a more stable, prosperous, and inclusive nation based on three principles. Those principles say that: 

  • “All citizens should enjoy political power equal to that enjoyed by millionaires.
  • “All citizens who work full time should be able to afford their basic needs.
  • “Tax receipts from millionaires, billionaires and corporations should make up a greater proportion of federal tax receipts.”

The Patriotic Millionaires published a blog a few days ago called: “A Wealth Tax is the Perfect COVID Stimulus Measure.” They have also supported calls for a wealth tax by former presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and others.

Billionaire Bill Gates called for one in a New Year’s Eve missive on December 30 of last year. (4) He says he’d be happy to pay $20 billion in taxes. Bill and Melinda Gates have already given away tens of billions of dollars for philanthropic causes. They join Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett in a pledge to give away more than half their wealth either before or after they die.

Opinion: Wealth Tax a Drop in the Bucket

Here’s my perspective on it. There is no amount of tax that will be able to support the spending habits of big government. The amount of money these millionaires and billionaires would contribute to the budget by paying more taxes would be only a drop in a very large bucket.

The Federal Reserve just increased the money supply by over $3 trillion in a matter of months — simply by adding zeros to their balance sheet and lending those funds to the US government. This is debt that will have to be paid back, and often comes in the form on inflation — which is a silent tax.

The easier it is to create money out of nothing, the easier it is for politicians to spend it. We know that billions of dollars went to buy corporate bonds and even junk bonds. Why?
We also know that people who received unemployment benefits these past few months received an extra $600 per week. For many people, this is more income than they received when they were working. 

We’re in the midst of a health crisis that is having a big impact on the economy, but it didn’t have to be this way. We have very good evidence now that this disease mostly affects elderly people and the immune-compromised. Very few young people have been affected, so they are the ones who could be working and keeping the economy going instead of taking unemployment dollars.

A nation simply can’t shut down every time there is an illness. We never have before, yet many people have died from pneumonia in the past. We don’t shut down our freeways because people die on them every day. 

And of course, it makes no sense that in Los Angeles, tens of thousands of protesters were allowed to shout and march, but businesses and beaches have to shut down. I just don’t understand it. I do believe if you want to protest, you should. If you want to go to the beach, you should. If you want to stay safe at home, you should. 

My daughter had COVID-19 last week, along with most of her friends. They live in San Diego in a house filled with students, next to other houses filled with students. When one got sick, they all got sick. They suffered together and also all got better together after three to four days. Hopefully this means they are now immune. 

My opinion on this stems from a deeply ingrained belief that people should take responsibility for their own lives, their own health, and their own wealth. At RealWealth, we preach that everyone should have at least six to twelve months reserves in place, including food and water, for emergencies like a job loss. If you own rental properties, always have money set aside for vacancies and repairs. And, if you own a business, ideally you can make it through a downturn because you have those reserves on hand. 

Real Wealth Philanthropy

With that said, Real Wealth absolutely believes in sharing the wealth. Our company donates 10% of profits earned through real estate transactions to our Real Wealth Foundation. So far, we’ve donated more than half a million dollars. The non-profit organizations we support are Mentors International, Operation Smile, Youth Opportunity Center, and Habitat for Humanity.

I’m certain some people will disagree with my viewpoint, and I welcome their debate. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy today to give someone a one star review just because you don’t agree with them. This has happened to me every time I’ve given my personal opinion. But because freedom of speech is something that women were denied for centuries, I will continue to do it now that I can.

If you wish to debate, please do — by sending me an email at kathy@realwealth.com. If you do like this show and my opinions (even though they may occasionally differ from yours), I would truly appreciate it if you’d give the show a multi-star rating. This would help offset the one-star reviews I receive when I speak my mind. Thank you.

You can find out more about real estate and our philanthropic efforts by going to our website, www.realwealth.com. It’s free to sign up, and free to access a wealth of information about the benefits of owning real estate, and how you can get started.

Links:

(1) Millionaires for Humanity Website

(2) CBS News Article

(3) Patriotic Millionaires Website

(4) GatesNotes Article

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