‘Patriotic Millionaires’ renew call for higher taxes

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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“I don’t need another tax cut,” President Obama told the country in a speech Wednesday. “Warren Buffett doesn’t need another tax cut. … And I believe that most wealthy Americans would agree with me. They want to give back to the country that’s done so much for them. Washington just hasn’t asked them to. “

The Patriotic Millionaires certainly agree with him.

The Patriotic Millionaires are a group of people whose income exceeds a $1 million a year, and they want higher taxes.

“We are writing to urge you to put our country ahead of politics,” begins their letter, addressed to Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Speaker of the House John Boehner signed by the likes of actress Edie Falco.

Last we heard of this group, it was November of 2010, when they petitioned Obama not to extend the Bush tax cuts and to raise taxes for those in the upper tax brackets. The effort was unsuccessful, but they’re back for another bite with much the same cast list.

“It’s the same issue,” explained David Goldschmidt, vice president for research at Edgestream Partners. “I believe in the progressive income tax, which to me means that people need to pay their fair share of the expenses of running a government.”

The group’s campaign was criticized as unnecessary – if these people want higher taxes, why not just give more money to the IRS?

“That’s completely missing the point,” said Goldschmidt. “It has to do with the policy of the government,” policy that he says has been on the wrong track since 1980. His response echoed those of other ‘Patriotic Millionaires’ who spoke to The Daily Caller during the last effort.

Lowering taxes, he says, does not do good things. “The effect is that the rich get richer and the middle class goes nowhere, and I guess the poor get poorer or they don’t go anywhere either,” he says.

“The point is, yes, I’m willing to pay my fair share, but I think that everyone else who’s wealthy should be paying their fair share,” he concluded.

Moreover, he said, there are practical considerations.

“A country that has a very tiny, extremely wealthy upper class and a lot of people that are really struggling – it can’t possibly be a healthy economy.”

“These Patriotic Millionaires are willing to put duty to the country first – they hope the President and the leaders in the House and Senate will do the same thing,” said Erica Payne, Founder of the Agenda Project and lead coordinator of the campaign with Wealth for the Common Good.

According to the speech Obama gave on Wednesday, this time, they might get their way.

Referring to the Republicans’ proposed Budget, the President said: “They want to give people like me a two hundred thousand dollar tax cut that’s paid for by asking thirty three seniors to each pay six thousand dollars more in health costs? That’s not right, and it’s not going to happen as long as I’m President.”

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Alexis Levinson