The billionaires’ annual gathering at Davos was shaken up by a stinging takedown on taxes by a Dutch historian. And for many, it was a welcome and long overdue moment.
Stop the bull shit, let’s talk about taxes
There was a lot of talk about tax at Davos. And there was certain hostility directed at new US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She had called for the introduction of a 70% tax rate on the rich (an idea backed by a Nobel Prize-winning economist).
The predictable reaction of Dell’s CEO Howard Dell was an example of this:
— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) January 24, 2019
However, Dell was schooled by MIT economist Erik Brynjolfsson. It was a clear demonstration of the economic and historical ignorance common within the global business community. As one commentator documented, in the US there have been vastly higher tax rates throughout history compared to today’s norm:
Billionaire @MichaelDell on @AOC's 70% marginal tax rate on millionaires:
"Name a country where that's worked -- ever."
Co-panelist and MIT professor Erik Brynjolfsson: "The United States!"#Davos2019 https://t.co/fVgrFI73wO
— Mark Elliott (@markmobility) January 23, 2019
It was the intervention of Dutch historian Rutger Bregman that dealt with the nonsense best, though. And he was direct, firing straight to the heart of the matter and calling out Dell’s ignorance directly:
‘It feels like I’m at a firefighters conference and no one’s allowed to speak about water.’ — This historian wasn’t afraid to confront the billionaires at Davos about their greed pic.twitter.com/TLHZQPMIwI
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 29, 2019
Read more: Watch a historian nail the super-rich: ‘enough of your charity bullshit, let’s talk taxes’