(Bloomberg) — It’s a line you don’t hear every day from Wall Street titans: Maybe we really should pay higher taxes.
The pandemic has bold-face names like Larry Fink and Lloyd Blankfein thinking out loud that it might be necessary as the coronavirus pandemic derails the economy. A few are even calling for the wealthy to pay up.
Finance billionaires benefited more than just about anyone from President Donald Trump’s massive tax cuts, his signature legislative achievement. Now they’re contemplating the end of that era, underscoring the gravity of the moment.
Just this week, Ray Dalio, the man behind the largest hedge fund, told JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s private-banking clients to expect higher tax rates no matter who wins November’s race for the White House. The mounting fiscal pain across the nation is making the math undeniable to leaders like Fink, who runs the world’s biggest asset manager as chief of BlackRock Inc., and Blankfein, who led Goldman Sachs Group Inc. through the last financial crisis.
“Taxes have to go up — and it will go up at the upper end,” Leon Cooperman, the outspoken hedge fund veteran, said in an interview. “We have to deal with our fiscal situation and stop indebting our children.” He has said he would be willing to pay half of his income to the government.
No one expects Trump to immediately reverse the tax cuts he signed into law when the economy was booming, particularly with his re-election at stake. In fact, even as millions of jobs vanish, the president has talked about cutting payroll taxes and reducing the capital gains rate, another move that would disproportionately benefit the affluent.
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