Now Rich Germans Want to Pay More Taxes

Wealthy folks worldwide take Buffett's lead
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2011 3:46 PM CDT
Rich Germans Follow Warren Buffet's Tax Lead
German Chancellor Angela Merkel.   (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Warren Buffett’s plea for raised taxes seems to have caused a chain reaction: A French group followed suit, and the head of Ferrari said he should pay more. A group of wealthy Germans is the latest to seek higher rates, the Guardian reports. The 50-member alliance has asked Chancellor Angela Merkel to “stop the gap between rich and poor getting even bigger”—even though “none of us are in Buffett's or Bettencourt's league,” notes the group’s founder, referring to France’s richest woman.

“We're a broad church—teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs. Most of our wealth is inherited. But we have more money than we need,” adds founder Dieter Lehmkuhl, whose personal assets amount to $2 million. The group, called “The Wealthy for a Capital Levy,” holds that a two-year, 5% wealth tax could add $144 billion to Germany’s coffers. The wealthiest Germans currently see a 42% tax rate. “The answer to sorting out Germany's financial problems is not to bring in cuts, which will disproportionately hit poorer people,” Lehmkuhl says. “Tax increases are a way out of this mess. That's where the money is: rich people.” (Read more Angela Merkel stories.)

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