A well-heeled group calling itself the Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength is planning to lobby Capitol Hill on Wednesday with an unusual request: “Tax Me.”
With the Thanksgiving-eve, supercommittee deadline just weeks away, members of the group — open only to people with incomes of $1 million and higher — plan to testify at a hearing on jobs and taxes, then meet with supercommittee members and their staffs, other Congressional leaders and members of the Tea Party Caucus.
They even plan to spend time with low-tax crusader and Republican strategist Grover Norquist.
"It will take all Patriotic Americans working together to fix the problems irresponsible politicians caused by cutting taxes for millionaires at the same time they put two wars on the nation's credit card," insists Erica Payne of Patriotic Millionaires. "We need to pay for the choices we make. These Patriotic Millionaires are willing to do that. On Wednesday, we will ask our elected officials if they are willing to do the same."
The group says it will be carrying a simple message deep into the “lion's den” during meetings with prominent tea party leaders in Congress and tax lobbyist Grover Norquist.
“They are willing to pay more in taxes because the sacrifice is both an ethical and patriotic decision,” according to a group statement. “It is made in the hopes of allowing the United States to continue to be a leader economically, politically, and morally. Any deal reached by the supercommittee that does not ask millionaires to pay their fair share should be vetoed.”
Initially formed to urge President Barack Obama to let the Bush-era tax cuts expire for people making more than $1 million a year, membership has now swelled to 200, and includes more than a dozen current and former Google employees; actress Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie); the founder of Esprit; the founder of the Princeton Review; the founder of Ask.com; philanthropist Michael Steinhardt; economist Nouriel Roubini; financial guru Andrew Tobias; top executives from Warburg, Pincus; and filmmaker Abigail Disney.
“An outpouring of public support encouraged them to continue their fight,” the group says, pointing to the following:
• Only 375,000 Americans have incomes of over $1 million.
• Between 1979 and 2007, incomes for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans rose by 281 percent.
• During the Great Depression, millionaires had a top marginal tax rate of 68 percent.
• In 1963 millionaires had a top marginal tax rate of 91 percent.
• In 1976 millionaires had a top marginal tax rate of 70 percent.
• Today, millionaires have a top marginal tax rate of 35 percent.
• Reducing the income tax on top earners is one of the most inefficient ways to grow the economy according to the Congressional Budget Office.
• 44 percent of Congress people are millionaires. The tax cuts were never meant to be permanent.
• Letting tax cuts for the top 2 percent expire as scheduled would pay down the debt by $700 billion over the next 10 years.
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