We have fun billionaires

The story comes from China, but it links nicely to Germany. Once a year, the so-called Hurun Report lists the richest people in the world and takes this opportunity to examine a few other questions of general interest. The report evaluates which billionaires worldwide live in a country other than their country of birth. So the list of the richest migrants. It is precisely this list that Germany leads now. There is no other country where more billionaires emigrate than from Germany - most of them go to Switzerland, by the way.

One can speculate about the reasons. Do the ladies and gentlemen just want to save taxes? Do you feel harassed by the tax office in Germany? Annoyed by the public inequality discussion? Are you mainly fleeing the euro and feeling more secure in the Swiss franc's sovereignty? Or isn't Switzerland just a beautiful country that is worth living in - for those who can afford it?

The question of why cannot be answered on the basis of the available data. But how about this question: Shouldn't the Germans be happy when their billionaires leave, and the multi-millionaires along with them? Isn't a country with fewer super-rich just better off? So let's be happy and grateful for everyone who goes?

At least one thing is clear: the fewer billionaires, the fairer the overall economic analysis looks. Because the income or wealth gap then shrinks, there is, by definition, less poverty and less inequality. So a little tip to the campaigners with the social agenda: Always hit the rich, then the problem of underprivileged will solve itself. And if that's too primitive, just shift down a gear. He politely but consistently asked the rich to checkout. A wealth tax on top of the tax rate, a wealth tax or levy, a few more screws tightened - oh, life as an election campaigner is fun. If it were that easy!

Raising the rich beyond the well-known progressive tax rate (the higher the income, the higher the tax rate) does not make the poor richer. The crux of the redistribution is that at the very top, with multimillionaires and billionaires, the sum cannot be charged enough to noticeably relieve the burden below. Which is why tax reforms like this quite regularly reach from the top right into the middle class and thus affect those who were not initially intended.

Germany's rich give money where banks struggle

Now politicians may accept such effects with approval, because they simply want to set a sign of solidarity and justice. And in fact the mood in Germany is currently changing, more and more people have the impression that things are becoming increasingly unfair - some of the most recent surveys actually suggest this. It is also the blueprint of the election campaign of at least the SPD, the Left and the Greens. Even if the facts are not everywhere congruent with the mood, one can consider it useful to pillory "the rich". However, this view neglects the positive implications of large fortunes in a society.

Societies that are as socially organized as the German one also benefit from large fortunes. They are the backbone of many traditional companies. You invest in new companies and ideas. They give money where banks have trouble. You invest in art and culture and in the regional location. If, especially in economically difficult times, as many German municipalities know, the financial possibilities of the public purse converge, when the swimming pools and theaters are closed and the money is no longer even enough for a culture factory, then the commitment and donations of the larger and larger large private wealth very welcome.

Sometimes these fortunes are gravely flawed. They are the result of illegal or questionable behavior, tax evasion, criminal business and behavior that is harmful to the community. Often enough, however, they are the result of performance and initiative in an open society. They shouldn't be driven out, they look good on Germany.