Norway’s Wealth Tax Is Backfiring. Are Americans Paying Attention?

According to The Guardian, Norway’s wealth tax is backfiring as more than 30 Norwegian billionaires and multimillionaires left the country in 2022.

In 2022 Norway’s third richest man, Kjell Inge Røkke, announced in an open letter to shareholders he was moving to Lugano, Switzerland.

“My capital will continue working in Norway,” wrote the fishing magnate turned industrialist who launched his empire four decades ago with a 69-foot trawler he bought while saving money working on ships off the coast of Alaska.

Røkke, who Forbes estimates has a fortune of $5.1 billion, will cost the Norwegian government an estimated 175,000,000 kroner annually (roughly $16 million) with his departure. That might not sound like a lot of money, but Røkke is not the only wealthy entrepreneur leaving Norway, The Guardian notes. 

“More than 30 Norwegian billionaires and multimillionaires left Norway in 2022, according to research by the newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv,” reports wealth correspondent Rupert Neate. “This was more than the total number of super-rich people who left the country during the previous 13 years, [the paper] added.”

Did you catch that? More “super rich” Norwegians left Norway in 2022 than during the previous 13 years combined. The reason wealthy Norwegians are fleeing the country is not a secret. 

Following its 2021 electoral victory, the Nordic nation’s Labor Party made good on its promise to soak the rich. Norway is one of just a handful of OECD countries that still taxes net wealth, and the Labor Party increased the country’s wealth tax to 1.1 percent despite warnings that such a move would “trigger capital flight and threaten job creation.”

Capital flight is exactly what happened, and it has left the Norwegian government with less revenue. 

Norwegian Business School professor emeritus Ole Gjems-Onstad estimated that the wealthy Norwegians took with them a total fortune of $54 billion when they left. This means that the wealth tax, which was projected to increase revenue by nearly $150 million annually, will result in about 40 percent less revenue than it currently generates. Luca Dellanna, a management advisor and author, points out that Norway collected about $1.46 billion on its wealth tax in 2019. But the exodus of the wealthy will result in an estimated $594 million in lost revenue.

According to UPI News, gold bar vending machines have been rolled out at South Korean convenience store GS Retail.

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