I would like to respond to Jay Goldberg’s comment that wealth taxes are a bad idea. He argues that a wealth tax won’t work because it will drive entrepreneurs out of the country. This will mean that we will have a reduced tax base, as we rely on the wealthy to pay income tax.

The fact that he wrote the commentary shows that the Liberals may need to introduce a wealth tax in order to gain NDP support when they pass their spring budget.

For me, this is a hopeful possibility. Chrystia Freeland has written a book called “Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else”. It should be noted that our Minister of Finance understands that wealth inequality disadvantages everyone. It’s also not ideal for the wealthy. Rather than feeling happy, they feel pressured and “less than” if they are not growing their wealth as quickly as their peers.

There are new calls for a global asset registry, so that global oligarchs can be curbed if they invade a country, like what is happening now with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A global asset registry would make it easier for individual countries to adopt a wealth tax, and if all countries agreed to impose a similar wealth tax on their citizens, it would significantly reduce the incentive for billionaires to move. to avoid wealth tax.

Recently, Dan Price, the socially responsible CEO of Gravity Payments tweeted this question: “Can someone explain why a billionaire who takes advantage of the system to exploit other people is called an ‘oligarch’ in Russia and a ‘creator? jobs” in America? ”

Some examples of American billionaires who qualify for the oligarch label are the Sackler family, who helped create the opioid crisis. There’s Bill Gates, who got much of his wealth by creating a monopoly, and insisted during a pandemic that waiving intellectual property rights on vaccines wouldn’t improve access to vaccines. Jeff Bezos profits by using monopoly power, union busting tactics and exploiting his workers. Some Amazon drivers need to pee in bottles, having no time for bathroom breaks! The Walton family stores gutted many town centers, decimated local manufacturing, and exploited workers both at home and abroad. Finally, there are the Koch brothers, who funded climate disinformation, dangerously delaying climate action by decades.

When Canada first introduced income tax, it only applied to the top two percent of earners, and it was instituted to help tackle wealth inequality. The period 1870-1910 is considered the golden age, with the rise of new wealthy families with names like Vanderbilt, Morgan, Ford, Carnegie and Rockefeller. Many people made great sacrifices for the war effort, and income tax, with marginal tax rates of around 90% on high earners, was introduced to help ensure that the very rich also contribute to society. Over time, the “Struck Back Empire,” ran campaigns to convince people that private enterprise was necessary and good, while government was incompetent and taxes were bad. These stories permeated our consciousness, and over the decades high marginal tax rates began to decline.

We are now in another golden age, and people are demanding that the rich pay their fair share. We are beginning to become more aware of the temptations of bad behavior and corruption that great wealth can bring, and in light of the immense suffering this causes, we demand that our governments take concrete action to do something about the oligarchs. and the plutocrats. A wealth tax is a good starting point.

Caterina Lindman is a retired actuary who lives in Waterloo