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Rich call for higher taxes

The Local · 31 Aug 2011, 16:29

Published: 31 Aug 2011 16:29 GMT+02:00

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Four rich individuals, including a football club owner and a famous musician, made the plea in Die Zeit weekly newspaper. They argued the extra money raised should be used to shore up German society.

“I would have no problem if the top tax rate were to be raised,” said Michael Otto, who is worth more than $16 billion ($11 billion) and heads up the massive mail order company of the same name.

Martin Kind, president of the Hannover 96 Bundesliga football club and head of a firm making hearing aids, echoed Otto’s words while adding the condition that the national debt be addressed.

“A few percentage points in higher taxes won’t make the wealthy poor,” said rock musician Marius Müller-Westernhagen.

The words echo similar statements from famed US billionaire Warren Buffet, who has called on the rich to shoulder more of the burden during tough economic times.

Sixteen wealthy French citizens, including Christophe de Margerie of oil giant Total and L'Oréal heir Liliane Bettencourt, signed a petition earlier this month, asking the government to increase their taxes. The French government has since proposed a three-percent surcharge for the country's ultra rich.

Germany itself has a back-and-forth history of both wealthy people offering to pay more taxes and government officials criticizing their excesses.

A group of about 50 wealthy Germans called the Initiative of the Wealthy for a Wealth Tax, has been calling for higher taxes on the wealthy for some time now.

But last year, former Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück condemned what he called the “excesses” of well-off Germans, whom he said often sought to avoid taxation.

One of the questions to be addressed is how increased taxes on the wealthy should look in practical terms. Should there be higher property, payroll or inheritance taxes? Or should all of those rise?

Another question is whether rich offering to pay increased taxes really would help the economy or whether it is just a way for them to curry favour from a public increasingly frustrated in tough times.

Story continues below…

“Maybe some are ashamed by what they earn,” said Jean-Philippe Delsol, from the Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal Issues in France, to the New York Times.

He told the Times that higher taxes could actually discourage people from earning more money, ending up as a drain on national coffers.

The Local/DPA/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:00 August 31, 2011 by William Thirteen
don't tell the tea partiers!
19:23 August 31, 2011 by TheChanger
Did the writer of this article check the taxes of those quoted and determine if they have been utilizing tax breaks or loopholes in order to lower their taxable income?

I don't know how taxes in Germany work, so that may not even be an issue there. Here in the USA their are so many loopholes and breaks for the wealthy that they often end up paying less tax than the average middle income taxpayer.

Offering to take on a higher tax rate is not honorable if you know you are going to slide around it anyway.

I hope *crosses fingers* that some of the super rich are finally looking to do their part to help with economic problems facing this world.
20:05 August 31, 2011 by catjones

Actually your accusations are not supported by the facts:

The latest data show that a big portion of the federal income tax burden is shoul­dered by a small group of the very richest Americans. The wealthiest 1 percent of the population earn 19 per­cent of the income but pay 37 percent of the income tax. The top 10 percent pay 68 percent of the tab. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent-those below the median income level-now earn 13 percent of the income but pay just 3 percent of the taxes.
22:16 August 31, 2011 by elboertjie
I agree to what 'TheCharger' says here above: those who say that wish to pay more tax are actually paying less of their income to tax.

To catjones, the rich pay a lot of money to taxes, but as a percentage of their own income, they pay less than most people. It is not how much euros they pay, but how much of their own income they pay. Of course the rich pay more euros than the poor, but they definitely pay less as a percentage of their own income.

Look at Warren Buffet, he pays so little income tax because he does not pay himself a salary, but because he is the owner of the company, one can say that he pays a bit more tax due to his company paying corporate tax.

Look at other major companies in the USA, they pay less tax as a whole than individual people. Many articles posted on this recently and this is because they play the tax system with loopholes.

So, before anyone claims that more taxes should be paid, what about first sticking to what is already agreed and pay those tax rates; thus, if one is supposed to pay 40%, pay that then and not a loophole of say 20%.

Actually, one should pay less taxes to help the economy. This is that we have more money to save, more money to invest and more money to create our own businesses. Governments should learn to spend less money.
15:39 September 1, 2011 by catjones
elboertjie....don't let the facts get in your way eh?

Federal tax brackets:


379,150 and above ...35%

In the school where I took arithmetic, 35% is more than 10%.

Warren Buffett was awarded total compensation of about $519,490 in 2009. Buffett's salary was $100,000, as it has been for more than a quarter century.
19:44 September 1, 2011 by Englishted
I smell fear , afraid that if you don't make this offer now and the whole of Europe goes the way of Greece then "extremists" will take you to the wall and shoot ,October 1917 revisited.
22:35 September 1, 2011 by wxman
First of all, the Tea Party isn't in Germany. Second, I'll bet they only found one or two "rich" who feel this way.
09:22 September 3, 2011 by c12dat
Why don't these "rich" people just write a check and send it to the government? Again, all talks and no show.
20:22 September 6, 2011 by Wise Up!
¦quot;Maybe some are ashamed by what they earn,¦quot; - only in Europe is success to be ashamed of. This perverse philosophy is what is driving their economy of social welfare, where everyone feels 'entitled' instead of having to (God forbid) work for it themselves.

It is always 'someone else' that pays.

As mentioned earlier, the rich pay the most taxes - the only solution is to create more rich and less poverty. Germany is heading the other direction.

If some rich want hire taxes - let them set the example - they should donate more of their money to the gov't!!!!

The joke is on them. It would not help at all. The gov't will only spend more and still cry for more taxes!

The TEA party is rescuing America. Who will be there to rescue Germany?
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