Disney heiress Abigail Disney, who is part of the "Millionaires for Humanity" campaign, said Thursday she and other millionaires and billionaires should be taxed more to help cover the costs coming as a result of the massive coronavirus pandemic and other needs in the United States.
"I think there's a recognition that we've gotten so far out of balance that it's just not realistic to keep going," Disney, a documentary filmmaker and granddaughter of Disney co-founder Roy Disney, said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "We're contributing so much less to the economy than we ought to be. For the well-being of our fellow Americans, it's time for us to cough up a little bit more."
The effective tax rate for wealthy Americans has gone from around 50% in the past 40 years to around 23%, said Disney, which is "roughly what the middle class pays."
"I would be happy to go back to the 50%," Disney said, adding that the initiative is about individual, not corporate taxes. "If that's not politically feasible, let's talk about 40%. There are people that are so wealthy that a 40% tax rate would do nothing to erode the quality of their life."
Disney said it's not enough to expect highly wealthy people to just send the government a check, rather than raise everyone's taxes, as the problem is "systemic."
She added that there is "no question that the federal government has failed us" because of a "failure of leadership," but more investment must be made in the nation's health systems and for low or middle-income Americans.
"You saw how quickly those lines formed at the food pantries," after the pandemic started, Disney said. "Millions and millions of people who work full time in this country did not have enough money laid by to be sure they had enough to eat for the next week, much less however long this is going to last."
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