The New York Times fawned over a wealthy "Tax Me Now" European heiress in “This Heir to a Fortune Wants It Taken Away for Fairness’ Sake.”
Emma Bubola’s loving “Saturday profile” piece bubbled over with a strong undercurrent of sympathy for guilt-ridden leftist economics:
By the time her extraordinarily wealthy grandmother died last month, Marlene Engelhorn already knew who she wanted to be the ultimate beneficiary of the enormous inheritance coming her way: the tax man.
Ms. Engelhorn, a 30-year-old who grew up in Vienna, is part of a growing movement of young, leftist millionaires who say they want governments to take a much larger share of their inherited wealth, arguing that these unearned fortunes should be democratically allocated by the state.
As a Times commenter pointed out, “She is free to enact her views by giving away the largest portion of her wealth to her entity of choice, in her case, the government of the day.” Indeed, why can’t she just donate her unfair share to the government treasury? Apparently redistribution of wealth is only fair if it’s mandated (and we all agree that the government is the most efficient allocator of resources, right?).
Philanthropy to her only replicates the same power dynamics that have created the systemic inequalities she wants to see dismantled, with new tax policies for the super rich an essential aspect of that vision.
The heiress’s awakening happened as it so often does, at university, where Engelhorn was indoctrinated into the made-up effects of “the interconnection of racial, gender and economic discrimination.”
Bubola captured the unseemly self-loathing apparently required to be a proper lefty these days, though the reporter downplayed the ideological aspects of the heiress’s self-abnegating beliefs.
As she looked for advice, she entered the orbit of groups of pro-tax millionaires, whose members meet in person or on video calls to discuss their privileges -- and how to get the state to strip them away.
Some of the members call the groups, which include Resource Generation and Patriotic Millionaires, a “safe space” where they can open up about what they call the “money story” -- an honest account of the real origins of their social status. They acknowledge the crimes often at the heart of their family’s wealth and analyze the sexist and racist components that might have contributed to it.
Bubola waited until paragraph 24 to work in some mild criticism, which she allowed Engelhorn to instantly neutralize.
Newspapers have mocked some of the language of these groups, calling it sententious and self-reverential, and Ms. Engelhorn complained that some scornful press ridiculed them as “rich kids clubs.”
A clearly left-wing economic think tank that advocates for “tax justice” and against “extreme wealth” wasn’t ideologically labeled, but its spokesman was labeled an “expert.”
Some experts outside the millionaire circle have also found the work of these groups helpful.
“I’m really grateful for their voice,” said Amy Hanauer, the executive director at Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a think tank in Washington, who said that millionaires can be influential higher tax advocates.
Apparently, Engelhorn’s charity is strictly limited to enriching government coffers, not directly dealing funds to people who may actually need it.
Ms. Engelhorn’s multiple radio and TV appearances have resulted in dozens of people reaching out to ask her directly for financial help. She said it wrecks her to say no, but she believes it should not be on her to decide who gets her money.