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Raise our taxes, liberal billionaires urge presidential candidates

  • Financier George Soros and heiress Abigail Disney are among the wealthiest Americans who believe they should be paying more in taxes.  
  • Nineteen individuals who also include Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes are calling on the 2020 presidential candidates to increase taxes on "the most financially fortunate."
  • The richest one-tenth of the richest 1% should be the target for more taxes, the group said.
  • The group listed Democrats Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Beto O'Rourke as among the candidates supportive of the idea.

Financier George Soros and heiress Abigail Disney are among the rich Americans who believe they should be paying more in taxes. The liberal duo are among the 19 people -- one anonymous -- calling for "a moderate wealth tax on the fortunes of the richest one-tenth of the richest 1 percent of Americans — on us."

In a letter address to "all 2020 presidential candidates" and published online Monday, the group declared that "the next dollar of new tax revenue should come from the most financially fortunate, not from middle-income and lower-income Americans."

The extra tax dollars could be used to help curb income equality and to finance innovations to address climate change, they wrote, noting Democratic White House hopefuls Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke and Pete Buttigieg are among those who support the idea. 

They cited a proposal by Warren for a 2% tax on assets of $50 million or more, and another 1% on assets exceeding $1 billion. The Massachusetts senator estimates 75,000 households would be affected by the tax, which she calculates would generate around $2.8 trillion in tax revenue over a decade.

Not the first time

Others signing the appeal include Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and Liesel Pritzker Simmons and Ian Simmons, co-founders of the Blue Haven Initiative, an impact investment group, as well as Molly Munger, an attorney and the daughter of Charlie Munger, vice chairman at Berkshire Hathaway.

What CEOs earn at America's biggest companies

The missive is not the first time a billionaire has made the argument for taxing the wealthiest more. Berkshire founder Warren Buffett in 2011 made the case, saying "my friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress." He also has famously stated that his secretary pays a higher effective tax rate than he does.

More recently, in 2014, entrepreneur Nick Hanauer wrote an appeal to his "fellow zillionaires," saying "if we don't do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us." Hanauer also signed the latest letter.

Disney has been a vocal opponent of CEO compensation in corporate America, including at the Walt Disney, the company co-founded by her grandfather, Roy O. Disney, and his brother Walt. She has called the pay disparity between those running the company and its workers a "moral issue," noting that Disney CEO Bob Iger earned nearly $66 million in total compensation last year, a number she has called "insane." 

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