Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Time to tax greed

The ultra-rich have done very, very well out of the pandemic. Globally, the wealth of the ten richest people rose by US$540 billion last year, enough money to pay for the pandemic in its entirity. And in New Zealand, local billionaire Graeme Hart saw his wealth increase by almost NZ$3.5 billion. All this while over two million people have died, millions more have been plunged into poverty, and governments are building up enormous debts to keep everything running during a global disaster. In these circumstances, such staggering growth gives a real impression that they are profiting from our misery.

There is an obvious solution to this massive growth in inequality: tax the rich. But we don't just need to tax them; we need to tax them into oblivion. As Arwa Mahdawi points out in The Guardian, billionaires shouldn't exist. They are policy failures. No human being needs that much money, and the power it grants distorts our democracies. Directly taxing wealth over a certain threshold at a rate high enough to erode it seems more than justified.