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100 millionaires and billionaires signed a letter to pay more taxes—and fear violence if they don’t

January 19, 2022, 4:59 PM UTC

A group of more than 100 billionaires and millionaires has issued an appeal to world leaders—they want to pay more taxes. 

The group, which calls themselves “Patriotic Millionaires,” released an open letter this week aimed at the global elite convening for the virtual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.  

“This injustice baked into the foundation of the international tax system has created a colossal lack of trust between the people of the world and the elites who are the architects of this system,” the signatories stated in their open letter on Jan. 17. 

“To put it simply, restoring trust requires taxing the rich. The world—every country in it—must demand the rich pay their fair share. Tax us, the rich, and tax us now.”

Citing the unfairness of the current tax system and rising income inequality, the letter offers a grave ultimatum if the rich continue to hoard wealth, saying they will eventually be the recipients of violence.

“Show the people of the world that you deserve their trust,” the letter reads. “If you don’t, then all the private talks won’t change what’s coming—it’s taxes or pitchforks. Let’s listen to history and choose wisely.”

The global COVID pandemic has ravaged the world’s poorest people, resulting in severe income losses. The average incomes of the bottom 40% of people worldwide in 2021 are 6.7% lower than pre-pandemic projections. Meanwhile, the exponential rise in billionaires’ wealth this year means 10 of the richest men in the world have doubled their net worths. Each is now valued at more than $100 billion. Elon Musk, for example, increased his wealth by 1,000% to $270 billion since March 2020, according to a recent Oxfam report

The median American household income in 2021 was $65,721.

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