A letter co-signed by 19 of the "richest one-tenth of the richest 1 percent of Americans" calls for 2020 presidential candidates to create a wealth tax on them and others in their tax bracket.
Names on the letter published Monday include investor George Soros, filmmaker Abigail Disney, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, philanthropist Agnes Gund and real estate developer Robert Bowditch, among other members of the ultra-wealthy 1% - including an anonymous signee. Many of them have been outspoken before on the issue of wealth taxes.
"America has a moral, ethical and economic responsibility to tax our wealth more," they write in the letter, which was first reported by the New York Times. "A wealth tax could help address the climate crisis, improve the economy, improve health outcomes, fairly create opportunity, and strengthen our democratic freedoms."
The letter is described as specifically nonpartisan and not an endorsement of any candidate, though it lists Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke and Pete Buttigieg as candidates who have already supported a wealth tax.
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In particular, they cite Warren's policy - which taxes 75,000 of the wealthiest families in the country at a 2% rate - as a model for a policy that they endorse.
"That a moderate tax on a minuscule number of Americans could raise so much revenue simply reflects historic levels of wealth among America's richest," they add.
The letter arrives the same day as an ambitious student loan debt proposal announced by Bernie Sanders, which would eradicate $1.6 trillion in debt from 45 million Americans.
Sanders' plan would be funded by a "Robin Hood Tax" that would impose a 0.5% tax on stock trades, a 0.1% fee on bonds and a 0.005% fee on derivatives.
Contributing: William Cummings, USA TODAY
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: George Soros and fellow billionaires ask to be taxed in a letter to 2020 candidates