Cavuto to ‘Guilty’ Millionaires: Write a Check to Uncle Sam Now!
A petition signed by 45 “patriotic” millionaires has been delivered to President Barack Obama and congressional leaders, encouraging them to allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire at the close of 2010. But during his “Your World” broadcast Monday afternoon, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto dedicated a full segment of his program to address the millionaires’ “guilty” feelings.
“Why write a letter when you could all just write a check?” Cavuto asked, suggesting if they felt the need to contribute more, they were more than welcome to. “Why wait for your answer, guys? Pay more now!”
Among the most widely recognized names on the list are billionaire Warren Buffet, DJ/musician MOBY and Jerry Cohen, the “Jerry” of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Though he admits Buffett is a good friend and a great businessman, Cavuto says Buffett is wrong when it comes to raising taxes.
Cavuto urged the group to consider the many small business owners who would be significantly burdened by any increase in their taxes, especially during a struggling economic recovery. “For goodness sake, quit speaking for all those 2 percenters right now, especially the ones nowhere near what any of you are making now,” he said.
In the group’s 155-word letter, the “Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength” say they hope their taxes will increase on the first of January:
We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned an income of $1,000,000 per year or more.
We have done very well over the last several years. Now, during our nation’s moment of need, we are eager to do our fair share. We don’t need more tax cuts, and we understand that cutting our taxes will increase the deficit and the debt burden carried by other taxpayers. The country needs to meet its financial obligations in a just and responsible way.
Letting tax cuts for incomes over $1,000,000 expire, is an important step in that direction.
During an interview on ABC’s This Week, Buffett told host Christiane Amanpour that “people on the high end, people like myself, should be paying a lot more taxes. We have it better than we’ve ever had it,” he said.
“This is not an orchestrated campaign,” said Erica Payne, founder of the Agenda Project, a political strategy firm recruited to help coordinate the millionaires’ petition. Payne told ABC News that the White House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif,) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and a number of other members of Congress began receiving the letter last Monday.
The millionaires’ plea echoes the past rhetoric of Vice President Joe Biden who claimed in 2008 that it was “patriotic” to pay higher taxes.
“Only 375,000 Americans have income over $1 million,” said Payne. “You’re asking a small number of people to recognize that our country is in part responsible for their prosperity.”
Also on the millionaires list is Princeton Review founder John Katzman who defended his support, saying, “no one wants to be the chump.”
“The notion that we’re going to set up a system that, in effect, is a tax on our kids, and then look to random good-hearted people to step up and close that gap is silly,” said Katzman. “We need systemically to create a tax code that pays the bills.”
But not everyone is on board with the millionaires’ plan. Ryan Ellis, tax policy director for Americans for Tax Reform, says “this group doesn’t speak to anything close to the majority of small business owners.”
In addition, Ellis says he’s skeptical that political motivations may be driving the so-called “Patriotic Millionaires,” not a sense of actual patriotic duty.
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