Among the many disasters of Covid-19, there are also some miracles: the readers of the Financial Times (the bible of the international financial community) they sympathize with the idea of a tax on wealth. It is not an overwhelming majority, and it is a sample that is worth what it is worth in terms of representativeness (1,300 replies), but the data is nevertheless noteworthy. From what emerges from the survey 32% of readers said they were definitely in favor of an initiative of this type, the 18th% he said he would probably approve of it. 32% strongly oppose, another 13% probably say they are against it. The remaining 5% are uncertain.
The newspaper remembers how its readers have incomes and assets above the UK national average, and are usually less inclined to incur such taxes. A recent Ipsos Mori survey showed how 75% of Brits look favorably on a wealth levy. The most popular version of the tax should start at 500,000 pounds (550,000 euros). The professor at the University of Warwick was asked by the FT Arun Advani however, he said he was surprised at how the approval of the tax is also growing among the newspaper‘s target audience. For most, the wealth threshold above which the withdrawal should trigger is of a million pounds (approximately € 1.1 million). Readers who say they are in favor espouse the cause above all because they believe that some intervention that favors a greater redistribution of wealth is essential, even more so after the outbreak of the pandemic which is also having the effect of increasing the distance between rich and poor. Those against it above all believe that it would be an unfair penalty for those who save. Doubts about the effectiveness of the tax also depend on the complications in its application. In fact, there are countless legal ways to hide part of one’s wealth. To make the withdrawal really effective, it would be useful adequate surrounding legislation.
The outcome of the survey amazed the economist of the California University of Berkeley Gabriel Zucman, a leading proponent of a wealth tax intervention, who commented on the survey on Twitter.
– Gabriel Zucman (@gabriel_zucman) October 21, 2020
With a withdrawal on the top 1% twice as much as the Recovery Fund – Zucman, with his colleague Emmanuel Saez, proposes to tax very high wealth (therefore not income): a rate of 2% above 50 million dollars and the 3% above one billion dollars. The proposal it was endorsed by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren who included it in her electoral program. The senator’s version is more aggressive Bernie Sanders who would like to impose a 2% levy starting from 32 million dollars and go up to (% for assets over one billion. According to estimates, the “soft” levy of Senator Warren would weigh on 75 thousand US citizens and would guarantee a revenue of around 210 billion dollars a year. As the Financial Times poll recently showed, the debate on this type of levy is also igniting in Europe. In the European Union the wealthiest 1% of the population holds about 22.5% of all wealth, the only one The richest 0.1% have 10%. A tax such as that conceived by Zucman applied to the richest 1% of the EU population would guarantee income for 150 billion euros a year. In short, capable of financial interventions over a ten-year period of 1,500 billion euros, double the amount allocated between loans and subsidies from the recovery Fund. Even the International Monetary Fund he called for an increase in the levy on the wealthiest sections of the population to finance, in part, the fight against pandemics and inequalities.
The four European countries that have the tax: In Europe a quartet of countries survives that makes a levy on wealth, in 1990 there were 12, three times as much. It is about Spain, Belgium, Norway and Switzerland. The withdrawals are however very modest. In Spain, a 0.2% levy is applied to the portion of assets over 700 thousand euros. In Belgium the tax starts above 500 thousand euros and is 0.15%. More significant is the withdrawal in Switzerland, which however takes place on a cantonal basis, oscillating between 0.3% and 1% and starting with lower amounts. In Norway the tax is 0.8% and has been applied for approx 20 thousand euros (1.48 million crowns).