Saturday, February 24, 2024

Marlene Engelhorn, the billionaire who called for more taxes on the rich in Davos

 

While billions of citizens around the world wake up every morning with the idea, not always appealing, of going to work to keep their bank accounts afloat and improve their standard of living, Austro-German Marlene Engelhorn, 31, is looking for a way to do more. Reduce the zeros in your fortune. In fact, he wanted more than that. For almost two years, he promoted the cause that rich people like him, inheritors of almost 4,000 million euros as descendants of the founders of the German multinational chemical company BASF, should pay more taxes. With that message,, he stood this week at capitalism’s big annual event, the Davos Forum, where his wealth has made him the most popular activist.

The founder of Tax Me Now (Make Me Pay Taxes Now), which, like other initiatives that arose in the United States, brought together millionaires from Austria, Switzerland,, and Germany, Engelhorn rejected the idea of ​​philanthropy as a way for the richest to contribute to the development of society. Instead, he advocated structural solutions that did not depend on the goodwill of the wealthy. And he signed, along with more than 250 people from the richest people on the planet, an open letter titled Proud to Pay More in which they called on political leaders meeting this week in Davos to tax the rich to fight inequality. Among other names, it was also signed by the actor Brian Cox, protagonist of the series Succession, and Abigail Disney, heiress of the animation company.

Engelhorn, who lives in Vienna, promised to give 90% of his wealth to the state, but after the death of his grandmother Traudl Engelhorn in September 2022, he cried out about the fact that the money flowed from one generation to the next. , with no fees involved. “I inherited a fortune and, with it, a power, without ever having done anything to deserve it. And the state doesn’t even want me to pay the inheritance tax.”

50 are chosen to decide the fate of 25 million

For this reason, this year it began to look for more original ways of distribution. It randomly sent 10,000 invitations to Austrian citizens to participate in a forum to generate ideas to distribute 25 million euros. From those interested, 50 people and 15 substitutes will be chosen, those who manage to explain the most appropriate destination for that money, will be paid for travel expenses to meet and receive 1,200 euros per week at work until they agree on where they are. travel to. If there is no majority consensus, the funds will remain in Engelhorn’s account.

“If the politicians don’t do their job and redistribute, then I will have to redistribute my wealth,” the heir explained in a recent statement. “Many people struggle to make ends meet with a full-time job and pay taxes on every euro they earn from their work,” he said. On the contrary, he criticized that people like him, who were placed in the lottery for the birth of one of the best-placed families in Europe without having done any merit, do not suffer the burdens of taxes, which are as heavy as those of the average citizen. “I see this as a policy failure, and if the policy fails, the citizens have to deal with it themselves,” he said, referring to his intention to randomly turn to some of his neighbors to distribute his money.

Engelhorn’s insistence paid off in the German-speaking world. On the website of their movement,, they claim that 80,000 people have signed the petition for the rich to pay more taxes. And in a manifesto,, they provide data to justify their initiative. They claim that in Germany, the richest 10% own 62.1% of all assets, and in Austria, 1% of the population owns 40% of the wealth. “It cannot continue as it is. Wealth inequality as it exists today undermines democracy and harms society,” they concluded.

 

World Nation News Desk
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