A coterie of guilt-ridden rich folks calling themselves Millionaires for Humanity has signed an open letter begging the governments of the world to raise their taxes in order to undo the devastation wreaked by COVID-19.
“As Covid-19 strikes the world, millionaires like us have a critical role to play in healing our world,” they write. That role, it seems, is not to do anything useful — they admit they’re not the ones caring for the sick or performing other jobs lately declared essential — but simply to “have money, lots of it” and to ask governments “to raise taxes on people like us. Immediately. Substantially. Permanently.”
Hiking taxes on the rich, they claim, “is the only choice.” After all, “Humanity is more important than our money.”
Of course, if they really believed that, they would immediately donate all their money to charity and go live under a bridge somewhere. No, what these folks really want is not bettering humanity but getting credit for having the “right” opinion without actually having to put their money where their mouths are.
The millionaires maintain that “the problems caused by, and revealed by, Covid-19 can’t be solved with charity, no matter how generous.” Rather than rely on voluntary giving, they propose having the state rob some people to pay others: “Government leaders must take the responsibility for raising the funds we need and spending them fairly.”
This is like asking the guy who burned your house down to rebuild it at your neighbor’s expense. The problems the millionaires blame on the coronavirus — poverty, unemployment, and business and school closures — are all directly attributable to government policies allegedly designed to combat the virus.
Even the supposed “inadequate investment … in public health systems” they mention is also a problem not of a lack of funds but of government waste, inefficiency, and meddling. The United States, with a combination of public and highly regulated and subsidized private insurance, spends over $11,000 per person per year on health care. Canada, with its completely socialized system, shells out more than $7,000 per person per year. The funds are there. They are just being spent on bureaucracy — more than a third of U.S. healthcare spending went toward paperwork in 2017 — and on fulfilling politicians’ and pressure groups’ wish lists rather than on actually treating patients. Indeed, the more government involvement there is in health care, the longer the waiting lists and the worse the outcomes for most patients.
It’s ludicrous to think that government, via taxation, is going to be able to solve the problems it created. All it will do is pile on more interventions that will create more problems, which in turn will “necessitate” further interventions, until eventually everything comes under its control. If that sounds like a good idea to you, try asking anyone in Cuba or China, assuming you can get him away from government surveillance long enough.
Furthermore, why would these millionaires trust government to spend money “fairly”? What does that even mean in the context of divvying up stolen cash? Government money is always distributed on the basis of political considerations, not need.
During the Great Depression, for example, “the largest share of New Deal spending and loan programs went to political ‘swing’ states in the West and East — where incomes were at least 60% higher than in the South,” wrote the Cato Institute’s Jim Powell. “As an incumbent, FDR didn’t see any point giving much money to the South where voters were already overwhelmingly on his side.”
Lest you think such shenanigans occurred only in bygone eras, consider the Paycheck Protection Program that Congress created in March supposedly to help small businesses weather the coronavirus lockdowns, a prime example of one intervention’s begetting another. While some small businesses were helped by the program, much of the moolah went to Wall Street financial companies, elite law firms, large corporations, and politicians and their cronies. In fact, the whole lockdown regime has benefited big, politically connected corporations at the expense of small businesses and, ultimately, consumers.
Millionaires for Humanity are clearly aware of all this. If they genuinely thought that giving all their money to the government would solve the world’s problems, they could do so now. The U.S. government, at least, is only too happy to accept donations. Since they haven’t done that, one can only conclude that their plea for higher taxes — accompanied, no doubt, by enough loopholes to protect their assets — has nothing to do with improving the condition of humanity and everything to do with public virtue-signaling.