- The Washington Times - Monday, June 24, 2019

Some of the country’s wealthiest people on Monday penned an open letter to all 2020 presidential candidates in support of a “wealth tax” on the richest 1% of Americans.

“America has a moral, ethical and economic responsibility to tax our wealth more,” the letter reads. “A wealth tax could help address the climate crisis, improve the economy, improve health outcomes, fairly create opportunity, and strengthen our democratic freedoms. Instituting a wealth tax is in the interest of our republic.”

The signatories include financier George Soros, his son Alexander, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, and Abigail Disney.

Also signing the letter were Regan Pritzker and Liesel Pritzker Simmons, both part of the Pritzker family, whose vast holdings include the Hyatt Hotel chain.

Though the letter calls on “all candidates,” whether Republican or Democrat, to embrace the idea, it specifically mentions a proposal advanced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to impose a new tax on assets of $50 million or more.

It also names South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas as supportive of the general idea.

The letter does not mention Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, who has railed against billionaires and wealthy corporations as a central message of his presidential campaign.

It includes a disclaimer saying that it does not imply an endorsement for any candidate.

“Those of us signing this letter enjoy uncommon fortunes, but each of us wants to live in an America that solves the biggest challenges of our common future,” the letter reads.

The letter cites research that projects the top one-tenth of the wealthiest 1% are projected to pay 3.2% of their wealth in taxes this year, while the bottom 99% are projected to pay 7.2%.

“This imbalance creates resentment and makes it harder for working-class Americans to achieve social mobility,” the letter says. “Taxing extraordinary wealth should be a greater priority than taxing hard work. The most fortunate should contribute more.”

The signatories called a wealth tax “patriotic.”

“Those of us in the richest 1/10 of the richest 1% should be proud to pay a bit more of our fortune forward to America’s future,” they wrote. “We’ll be fine — taking on this tax is the least we can do to strengthen the country we love.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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