In an open letter from a group calling itself “Millionaires For Humanity,” 83 millionaires are asking government officials to raise taxes on wealthy citizens in an effort to fund COVID-19 relief efforts. Love, Actually and Notting Hill screenwriter Richard Curtis, along with Abigail Disney, Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield, and others, signed their names to the letter, which effectively makes every other millionaire who didn’t sign it—and those who don’t join upon reading—look like a massive tool bag. “As Covid-19 strikes the world, millionaires like us have a critical role to play in healing our world,” reads the letter. “No, 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. Money that is desperately needed now and will continue to be needed in the years ahead, as our world recovers from this crisis.”
Although it begins with something of a humble-brag, the letter ultimately makes a good point, and one that, again, only a massive tool bag would refuse to endorse: Millionaires (and billionaires, obviously) have plenty of money and are not taxed nearly enough for it. Were governments to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires, that money would offer much-needed aid to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic—so, pretty much everyone. And those rich people would still be absurdly rich. Everyone wins.
The letter goes on to state (emphasis theirs):
Today, we, the undersigned millionaires, ask our governments to raise taxes on people like us. Immediately. Substantially. Permanently.
The impact of this crisis will last for decades. It could push half a billion more people into poverty. Hundreds of millions of people will lose their jobs as businesses close, some permanently. Already, there are nearly a billion children out of school, many with no access to the resources they need to continue their learning. And of course the absence of hospital beds, protective masks, and ventilators is a painful, daily reminder of the inadequate investment made in public health systems across the world.
Furthermore, the letter notes that the current pandemic crisis “can’t be solved with charity, no matter how generous. Government leaders must take the responsibility for raising the funds we need and spending them fairly.”
Your move, literally every other millionaire, but especially Jeff Bezos, who is the biggest massive tool bag of all.