OpinionWealth tax

When the rich like to pay taxes

Millionaires advocating for higher taxes on the wealthy do not have to wait for the legislature: the federal government's debt repayment account is ready to receive inflows.

When the rich like to pay taxes

Opposites attract, and bridging them can be intellectually stimulating. "Market and Marx" is such a contrast. One of Sahra Wagenknecht's merits is her popular scientific analysis in her books of the possible synthesis of a market economy and socialism. Her identification as a fan of Ludwig Erhard and his vision of "prosperity for all" in her criticism of capitalism has not hindered the marketing of her books and her personal brand. The left-wing icon also seeks to bridge the gap from capitalism to socialism with the agenda of her party, which is yet to be founded, and she shows no reluctance to engage with capital in the process. IT entrepreneur and millionaire Ralph Suikat serves as the treasurer of the Wagenknecht Association and has been an "impact investor" advocating for a sustainable economic system for several years.

When it comes to fundraising, he can rely on a wealthy circle of friends, as he is a member of the "Millionaires for Humanity" and "Taxmenow" networks. Alongside the "Patriotic Millionaires," these groups, which include more than 100 millionaires from nine Western industrialized countries, have been advocating for higher taxes on the wealthy for years. The ranks of these tax masochist millionaires include primarily business heirs, such as Bronfman, Disney, or Getty in the US, and in Europe, BASF heiress Marlene Engelhorn or Schwarz Pharma heir Antonis Schwarz.

Wealth tax starting at 2% for millionaires

According to the non-governmental organization Oxfam, a wealth tax starting at 2% for millionaires and increasing to 5% for billionaires could generate $2.5 trillion annually worldwide. This could help reduce inequality in the world and finance healthcare and education in poorer countries.

The tax activists seem to have found a receptive audience at the EU Tax Observatory in Paris. In a recent study, funded by the EU, this think tank suggested imposing a minimum 2% tax on the wealth of approximately 2,800 individuals identified globally as billionaires. This would put $258 billion into government coffers annually. So, after the global minimum tax on corporate profits, the super-rich are now in the crosshairs, even though their wealth is mostly made up of shares from these already taxed corporations.

Debt Settlement Account of the Federal Government

In Germany, the Taxmenow millionaires are calling for the reintroduction of the wealth tax, fewer exemptions for inheritance tax, progressive tax rates for capital gains tax, and a capital levy for millionaires if public tasks can no longer be financed due to the debt brake. This remains highly pertinent today, given Finance Minister Christian Lindner's steadfast commitment to the debt ceiling and the constitution, a position that Economic Minister Robert Habeck views as curbing the eco-friendly overhaul of the German industry.

For those thwarted wealth taxpayers, the Debt Settlement Account of the Federal Government is recommended. Established in 2006 by the Federal Ministry of Finance, the account was created "at the request of many citizens." The more donations that flow into this account to reduce Germany's national debt, the greater the financial leeway for additional government tasks. Unfortunately, deposits into this account have been meager. With just under 1.4 million euros in inflows since its inception, it's hardly enough to make a difference. Nonetheless, tax activists should know that the benefit of their voluntary payment for society would be no less than that of a forced (tax) payment – and far more valuable than a political donation. And: The long journey to a fairer tax world begins with the first step. The IBAN of the account held at the Bundesbank is DE17 8600 0000 0086 0010 30, and the BIC is MARKDEF1860.