Why do some millionaires want higher taxes?

Font Size:

Over the years, Germany has exported a number of bad ideas and bad actors — including public education and Adolph Hitler.

In June, 51 German millionaires planted seeds for yet another.

They founded a Club of the Wealthy and proposed “to give up 10 percent of their income in the form of a ‘Rich Tax’ for 10 years to consolidate the budget.”

Not to be outdone — or is it a case of following the prescription of worldwide progressives? — last week 45 American millionaires sent a letter to President Obama calling for the Bush-era tax cuts to expire.

Who are these Americans who want to raise taxes on themselves and so many other citizens as well?

The group of 45 millionaires includes John Katzman, the founder of Princeton Review; Moby, the Grammy Award-nominated DJ; and Jerry Cohen, the co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s.

Who orchestrated and coordinated the effort? That would be a new progressive organization called “The Agenda Project.” Here’s how The Agenda Project describes what they call “The Road Ahead”:

The remarkable victory of Barack Obama and other electoral gains provided a critical boost of political power. This power is reinforced by the young but vibrant “extra-political” infrastructure. New and important relationships have developed between key stakeholders, and critical funders have emerged as important leaders.

What might be behind their call for higher taxes? It should be noted that, apparently, cutting spending and shrinking the size of the federal government never entered the minds of this erstwhile group of millionaires. Instead, they prefer to increase taxes on themselves and — given the effect of killing the Bush tax cuts — all who earn over $200,000 a year.

Any one of these individual millionaires could send a check to the IRS in the amount of their choosing. Yes, they could do that, but no, that approach limits the burden to only them and is insufficient to fund the progressive agenda.

Instead — given the public proposal — their preference would rob the earned income and prospective wealth of other citizens and, in effect, create a firewall of sorts for those energetic entrepreneurs whose level of assets might already — or someday — approach their level of wealth.

Could that also be part of the motivation? Yes. And, further, it is easy for the entrenched wealthy who have already made their millions to pay more in taxes.

Typically, the already-wealthy pay taxes only — or mostly — on the interest income from their investments. So the proposal represents what is an essential component in any plan to protect the wealth of entrenched millionaires.

That said, here’s an interesting fact: According to the Boston Consulting Group, in the United States “millionaires represent a fraction of the population…but [hold] 56 percent of its wealth”.

That suggests that the public call for raising taxes on the wealthy may in reality be a bit of misdirection — designed to sustain the redistributive progressive agenda by increasing the burden on energetic and productive Americans.

What do you think? Should current tax rates be extended for all, or only for selected segments of taxpayers? Tell us via the online poll at www.KeySurveys.us. I’ll report the poll results here next week.

Richard Olivastro is president of Olivastro Communications; a professional member of the National Speakers Association; and, founder of Citizens For Change (www.CFC.us). He can be reached via email: RichOlivastro@gmail.com; telephone: 877.RichSpeaks.