Economics Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz proposes taxing the richest at 70% to curb inequality

Economics Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz proposes taxing the richest at 70% to curb inequality

Economics Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz wants to “tax wealth higher” to reduce widening global inequalities.

To reduce inequalities, Joseph Stiglitz, 79, wants to reach into the pockets of the richest. The winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics proposes the introduction of a worldwide special tax rate of 70% on the highest incomes and a wealth tax of 2 to 3%.

“We should tax wealth more heavily because a lot of wealth is inherited wealth […] they have good parents. I think we need to recognize that most billionaires have acquired much of their wealth by accident,” the former World Bank chief economist told Oxfam’s Equals podcast.

Currently, the highest income tax rate in France is 45% on annual income over €168,994. In the UK it is 45% for income above £150,000 (€170,317) and 37% for income above $495,305 (about €450,000) in the United States.

In addition to raising the top tax rate, Joseph Stiglitz, whose comments are also shared by the Guardian, is campaigning for the introduction of wealth taxes on the world’s largest fortunes, built up over generations.

He believes that US Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposals on this topic provide a good basis for the work. The latter proposes a tax of 2% for people whose assets exceed $50 million (about 46 million euros) and 3% for people who have more than $1 million (about 920,000 euros).

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Measures that the Nobel laureate considers “very reasonable” while he says the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities to an “amazing” degree. “At a time when so many are finding life so hard, losing their jobs, and now facing soaring food and oil prices, it’s shocking how many people and wealthy businesses have fled like bandits,” lamented Joseph Stiglitz.

“Tax Us”

Oxfam, which fights against inequality, released a study last week precisely denouncing “the extreme concentration of wealth”. According to the data collected, nearly two-thirds of the wealth accumulated since the health crisis began has gone to the top 1%.

More broadly, of every $100 in wealth created over the past decade, $54.4 went into the pockets of the top 1% and 70 cents went to the bottom 50%.

According to Oxfam, this is the first time in a quarter century that an increase in extreme wealth has been matched by an increase in extreme poverty. The NGO estimates that a tax of up to 5% on the world’s multimillionaires and billionaires could raise $1.7 billion annually, enough to lift 2 billion people out of poverty and one fund a global plan to end hunger.

Some of the key stakeholders support the project themselves. On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, more than 200 millionaires and billionaires called for “tax us” to tackle “extreme inequality.”