Nearly three quarters of millionaires polled in G20 countries support higher taxes on wealth, over half think extreme wealth is a “threat to democracy”

Published: 17th January 2024

Polling comes as 260 millionaires and billionaires sign new letter, directed at political leaders attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, saying they would be “Proud To Pay More” in taxes.

A staggering new poll has revealed that support for higher taxes on wealth is popular with dollar millionaires from across G20 countries. It comes as 260 millionaires and billionaires have signed a new letter demanding world leaders increase their taxes, to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The polling is part of the “Proud to Pay More” report, published alongside the letter, which profiles some of the world’s wealthiest people on why they support higher taxes on themselves.

The survey, conducted by Survation on behalf of Patriotic Millionaires, polled over 2,300 respondents from G20 countries who hold more than $1 million in investable assets, excluding their homes —making them the richest five percent and higher. Key findings include:

  • 74 percent support higher taxes on wealth to help address the cost of living crisis and improve public services.
  • 75 percent support the introduction of a 2 percent wealth tax on billionaires, as proposed by the EU Tax Observatory in October 2023.
  • 58 percent support the introduction of a 2 percent wealth tax for people with more than $10 million.
  • 72 percent think that extreme wealth helps buy political influence.
  • 54 percent think that extreme wealth is a threat to democracy. 

“We are living in a second Gilded Age,” said Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor Brian Cox, who played fictional billionaire Logan Roy in HBO’s Succession. “Billionaires are wielding their extreme wealth to accumulate political power and influence, simultaneously undermining democracy and the global economy. It’s long past time to act. If our elected officials refuse to address this concentration of money and power, the consequences will be dire.”

In a year of national elections across a number of G20 countries, the poll not only showed that respondents from the richest five 5 percent support higher taxation on wealth ―they are also concerned extreme wealth concentration is a threat to democracy itself. This fear is reflected in the letter, Proud to Pay More, which states that “If elected representatives of the world’s leading economies do not take steps to address the dramatic rise of economic inequality, the consequences will continue to be catastrophic for society.”

“Throughout history, pitchforks were the inevitable consequence of extreme discontent, but today, the masses are turning to populism, which is on the rise throughout the world. It is happening here,” said Abigail Disney, documentary filmmaker, activist, and member of the Disney family. “We already know the solution to protect our institutions and stabilize our country: it’s taxing extreme wealth. What we lack is the political fortitude to do it. Even millionaires and billionaires like me are saying it’s time. The elites gathering in Davos must take this crisis seriously.”

Millionaires and billionaires spanning 17 countries, including Abigail Disney, Brian Cox, Simon Pegg, Valerie Rockefeller, Marlene Engelhorn, and Guy Singh-Watson, signed the letter in a growing global effort to wake world leaders up to the need to tax the super-rich. As Brazil takes on the G20 Presidency in 2024, with a commitment to addressing inequality as part of the agenda, the push from this growing group of wealthy individuals to tax the super-rich is even more significant. 

Marlene Engelhorn, Austrian inheritor and co-founder of taxmenow said: “2024 could be the beginning of real change if the G20 got serious about raising more taxes from people like me. With rising populism and seam-bursting wealth walking hand in hand, we cannot afford another year of economic neglect without further peril to democracy. The Brazilian G20 can help fix this if it leads global efforts to tax us, the super-rich.”

The polling also found:

  • 70 percent think the economy would be stronger if we increased taxes on extreme wealth to invest in public services and national infrastructure.
  • 66 percent of people with $1 million or more would support higher taxes on themselves if they were used to invest in public services and stronger national infrastructure.
  • 57 percent believe that extreme wealth prevents others from improving their living standards and hinders social mobility.
  • 53 percent think that extreme wealth exacerbates climate change.

Millionaires, including Marlene Engelhorn and Stefanie Bremer, will be in Davos to hand over the letter and reflect “The true measure of a society can be found, not just in how it treats its most vulnerable, but in what it asks of its wealthiest members. Our future is one of tax pride, or economic shame. That’s the choice”.

The Proud To Pay More letter is coordinated by Patriotic Millionaires, Patriotic Millionaires UK, taxmenow, Millionaires For Humanity, and Oxfam.

Notes to editors

Read the Proud to Pay More letter and consult the list of signatories.

Read the “Proud to Pay More” report.

Access the summary of the G20 survey on attitudes to extreme wealth and taxation of those with more than $1 million. 2,385 people aged 18 and over were surveyed by Survation between 4-16 December 2023 across G20 countries. 

Survation provides vital insights for brands and organizations wanting to better understand authentic opinion, adding value and credibility to the research they provide to clients.

Contact information

Spokespeople available for interviews include: 

UK: Julia Davies (UK investor and entrepreneur) and Guy Singh-Watson (founder, Riverford Organics)
Europe and in Davos: Marlene Engelhorn (inheritor and activist)

Annie Thériault in Peru | | +51 936 307 990
Belinda Torres Leclercq in Belgium | | +32 (0) 472 55 34 43

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