Volunteering to pay more taxes in Germany

A group of wealthy Germans are petitioning the government to raise their taxes, according to the BBC:

The group say they have more money than they need, and the extra revenue could fund economic and social programmes to aid Germany's economic recovery.

Germany could raise 100bn euros (£91bn) if the richest people paid a 5% wealth tax for two years, they say.

The petition has 44 signatories so far, and will be presented to newly re-elected Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The group say the financial crisis is leading to an increase in unemployment, poverty and social inequality.

Simply donating money to deal with the problems is not enough, they want a change in the whole approach.

"The path out of the crisis must be paved with massive investment in ecology, education and social justice," they say in the petition.

Those who had "made a fortune through inheritance, hard work, hard-working, successful entrepreneurship, or investment" should contribute by paying more to alleviate the crisis.

The man behind the petition, Dieter Lehmkuhl, told Berlin's Tagesspiegel that there were 2.2 million people in Germany with a fortune of more than 500,000 euros.

I'd be interested to see what people say about this in the comments. Is it right for 44 rich people to speak for 2.2 million who would be included in this idea?

There may be a variety of reasons why some rich Germans would feel compelled to do this, starting with patriotism. Nothing wrong with sacrificing for your country when necessary and these 44 people may feel compelled out of a sense of duty to the fatherland to give more for their fellow citizens.

But there are 2.2 million other people in Germany who this group would want to "voluntarily" pay more in taxes who may have a whole different idea of what patriotism means.

Therefore, rather than patriotism, this smacks of a publicity stunt to me. In socialist countries, the rich are demonized more than in the US - although Obama is doing a damn fine job of changing that. It could be an attempt to curry favor with the masses as well as assuage some guilt these people feel about inheriting the wealth created by their parents.

I would hope some of those 2.2 million other "rich" people in Germany who would be targeted with this "wealth tax" would make their feelings known as well.

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