A majority of people living in developed countries want their government to increase taxes on the rich in order to help the poorest in society, according to a major global study.
In all of the 21 countries included in the OECD study , more than half of those polled said they were in favour when asked: “Should the government tax the rich more than they currently do in order to support the poor?”
The OECD said the survey of 22,000 people was “deeply troubling” and revealed that nearly 60% of respondents do not think they are getting their “fair share” back for the taxes they pay.
Only one in five people thought that they would easily be able to access state benefits in the event of a crisis, with many raising concerns about healthcare. Almost six in 10 said their government ignored their views and concerns.
“This is a wake-up call for policy makers,” Ángel Gurría, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development secretary-general, said. “Too many people feel they cannot count fully on their government when they need help.
“A better understanding of the factors driving this perception and why people feel they are struggling is essential to making social protection more effective and efficient. We must restore trust and confidence in government and promote equality of opportunity.”
The survey comes as politicians and campaigners across the world call for higher taxes on the super-rich to fund essential services for the poor.
Several of the Democratic candidates for US president in the 2020 election, including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have proposed new taxes on the super-rich to address inequality. The gilets jaunes protesters in France have also demanded the wealthy shoulder a larger share of the tax burden.
Almost 80% of people in Portugal and Greece said they wanted their governments to impose higher taxes on the wealthy. In the US more than half of those surveyed supported extra taxes on the wealthy. The OECD did not set an income level for what constituents wealthy.
The OECD said the survey reveals widespread dissatisfaction with social policies across the world.
“Only a minority are satisfied with access to services like healthcare, housing, and long-term care,” the Risk Matters report said. “Many believe the government would not be able to provide a proper safety net if they lost their income due to job loss, illness or old age.”
Almost half of Americans in the survey said they would pay an additional 2% income tax to receive better healthcare, and one-third would be prepared to pay a 2% levy in return for better state education.
The UK was not included in the study.