While polling data suggest that most people in America by overwhelming margins support low taxes, a group of people calling themselves “The Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength” are calling for tax increases for “the rich.”
According to the Daily Caller:
“In a letter addressed to the President, the millionaires make their case, saying that as successful Americans they are ready and willing to do their ‘fair share.’
“‘For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you allow tax cuts on incomes over $1,000,000 to expire at the end of this year as scheduled,’ they write. ‘We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned an income of $1,000,000 per year or more.'”
At first blush, the 80 wealthy fat cats, including musician Moby, Men’s Warehouse CEO George Zimmer, Princeton Review founder John Katzman, and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, would seem to be expressing a willingness for self-sacrifice. But there is something more insidious going on here. Rodney Ellis, tax policy director for Americans for Tax Reform, explains:
“‘Jack Kemp used to say that our tax code isn’t hardest on the rich (they can hire accountants to find loopholes). It’s hardest on those trying to get rich. These guys are pulling up the ladders,’ Ellis wrote in an email to TheDC.”
Of course, the 80 or so wealthy people who signed the letter do not speak for the wealthy as a class and certainly not for struggling businessmen and entrepreneurs who see the tax system as a burden to be overcome. It is very likely, in fact, that were taxes to be increased on people making too much money, the people who signed the letter would not be affected to any appreciable degree. The super-rich, like the signers of the letter, can always find loopholes to decrease their taxes.
The idea that if the people who signed the letter begging Obama to raise their taxes could just write a check to the United States Treasury is rejected by Dennis Mehiel, one of the signers of the letter. Voluntary contributions won’t raise enough money. Besides, they want taxes raised not just on themselves, but on a lot of other people, including business competitors who make a lot less money than them.
Someone who is truly patriotic and interested in fiscal strength would call for lower taxes, not higher. Stimulating economic growth is a sure-fire way to increase tax revenues; it worked for John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush.
And if it means that Zimmer has to put up with some upstart competitor selling men’s suits or Cohen having to contend with someone else making hippy ice cream, so much the better. These plutocrats have too much time on their hands if they can lobby to raise taxes.
Instead, “The Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength” can busy themselves growing their immense businesses even more, increasing their income, hiring more people, and contributing to economic growth. Incidentally, all of that work would cause their taxes to increase anyway, without the government having to hike tax rates. That would certainly be true patriotism and true fiscal strength.
Source: Patrotic Millionaires, Caroline May, The Daily Caller, November 26th, 2010