More than 40 super-wealthy Americans have joined together to urge President Obama to end the Bush tax cuts for people making more than $1 million a year. The group, which calls itself the Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, includes big-time Democratic donors such as trial lawyer Guy Saperstein and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. They say the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans should be allowed to expire as scheduled at the end of the year "for the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens." Republicans want to extend the tax cuts, saying that eliminating them will hurt the economy. Is it "patriotic" for the rich to pay more taxes? (Watch a Fox News discussion about the initiative)
Of course, the rich should give something back: The rich "didn't make their millions in a vacuum," says Loren Steffy at the Houston Chronicle. Many of them have benefited from the "lax financial regulation and borrow-and-spend economics" that "got us into this financial jam." By asking President Obama to raise their taxes, they're only trying to "give something back." It's a shame more of the wealthy don't feel the same sense of duty.
"Where are Texas' 'patriotic millionaires?'"
These so-called patriots are not sincere: "If these people want to pay more in taxes," says Rob Port at Say Anything Blog, "there's nothing stopping them." They could simply figure out how much the Bush tax cuts save them "and cut a check to the IRS for that amount." But they won't, because they're not out to be patriotic, they're out to score cheap political points.
"'Patriotic Millionaires for fiscal strength' ask Obama to raise taxes"
These millionaires know their math: Since the 1970s, says John Nichols at The Nation, incomes for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans rose by 281 percent, while their top marginal tax rates fell from 70 percent to 35 percent. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that cutting taxes for the rich is an "inefficient" way to grow the economy, yet the breaks for the wealthy would cost the government $700 billion over the next decade. "Those numbers are worthy of note."
"Patriotic millionaires explain that tax cuts for the rich don't grow the economy"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- 10 innovative furniture designs that brilliantly save you space
- Christian conservatives have a terrifying new bogeyman: The Christian leftist
- What the Romney boomlet says about the establishment GOP's feeble 2016 field
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The battle over e-cigarettes
- Confronting our twisted relationship with food
Subscribe to the Week