by Joseph Coletti
Senior Fellow, Fiscal Studies, John Locke Foundation
Did you hear the one about the nineteen billionaires who loved their wealth so much they could not voluntarily part with it?
George Soros, his son, one unnamed person and 16 others signed a letter claiming they “believe it is our duty to step up and support a wealth tax that taxes us.” A Wall Street Journal editorial has a friendly reminder that if they can already contribute a “moderate” amount of their own wealth to climate change and creating opportunity. There was a time when the wealthy built concert halls, libraries, schools, and even hospitals. The wealthy in 18 states, but not North Carolina, can voluntarily pay more taxes to their government. Anyone can help pay down the federal debt (though it might help if they didn’t change the address every few years). And local governments take a range of donations. Few people take advantage of these opportunities to give more to government.
There are reasons to rely on taxes instead of voluntary contributions, but doing good can spur others to do good without coercion. Instead of seeking higher taxes on themselves and others, maybe these 19 billionaires can stand together with other wealthy individuals and help communities thrive.