Beyond Buffett, “Patriotic” One Percenters Say, “Tax Me”

Print Share on LinkedIn More

January 11, 2012; Source: National Journal | Not all of the superwealthy identify with the political values of the 1 percent members who are fending off the challenges of the 99 percent. A group called Patriotic Millionaires joined with representatives of U.S. Chamber Watch, Public Citizen, and the National Wildlife Federation to issue a “prebuttal” to U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donohue, who delivered the annual State of American Business speech on Thursday.

Patriotic Millionaires’ argument is that the Chamber really only represents a small number of large corporations that dominate the Chamber’s funding in order to pursue tax cuts and regulation rollbacks. At their news conference, spokesperson for Patriotic Millionaires Leo Hindery, a managing partner in a private equity firm, said, “Nothing that’s being suggested in the Chamber’s proposals . . . will create jobs.”

Patriotic Millionaires wasn’t formed solely to take on Donohue and the Chamber. Last spring, the organization pledged to match any contribution that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) might make to the U.S. Treasury, Hatch’s challenge to rich people who favored increased taxes (a challenge that Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett recently took up as a dollar-for-dollar or even higher match of any donations from Congressional Republicans).

Last fall, Patriotic Millionaires sent a letter to Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) arguing for higher taxes for the wealthy. The letter was signed by a number of reasonably well-known people of significant wealth, including, for example:

  • Bernard Winograd (recently retired executive VP and chief operating officer for Prudential Financial’s U.S. operations)
  • Philippe Villers (high-tech entrepreneur and founder/president of Families USA)
  • Sarah Stranahan (former chair of the Needmor Fund, established by Duane and Virginia Stranahan, heirs to the Champion Spark Plug Company fortune)
  • Abigail Disney (daughter of Roy Disney and founder of the Daphne Foundation)
  • Susie Buell (founder of Esprit clothing)
  • Arnold Hiatt (former president of Stride Rite footwear)

There are others identifying themselves with Patriotic Millionaires, such as Susan Adelman, the president of her family foundation. Adelman describes the purpose of Patriotic Millionaires as “millionaires and hopefully some billionaires” joined to “make the case to Congress and the public that we should push those tax rates up to reasonable levels.” A Forbes columnist, however, characterizes Patriotic Millionaires as “some very well off individuals [who] seem happy to spend their own money in opposition to their class interests.”

Can Patriotic Millionaires convince more “classmates” to join Adelman in saying, “Tax me?” – Rick Cohen

  • Willard

    Taxes suck, period. But shouldn’t Senator Hatch be shrinking his own fat pension plan? It’s coming out of public coffers. He’s working to reform state pension plans- but fails to address his own. He’s been in the Senate for 36 years now- it’s time he stops contributing to big Government and come home- time to live under the laws he supports- like the NDAA

  • Elaine Leichter

    While a fairer tax structure is appropriate, as my republican friends keep reminding me, we cannot tax ourselves out of our current predicament. Furthermore, the concept that the nonprofit sector can somehow lift dead middle class out of its grave is also wrong — not to mention debilitating to people who want jobs … not charity.
    We need to envivorate our economy. You do that by getting money into the hands of people who will spend it. As more and more wealth is crammed into the hands of the already wealthy it seems pretty clear to me that they are hoarding more of it than they are spending. It also seems pretty clear to me that the one-percenters are not the ones who would create jobs, even if our economy was completely unregulated. Why???? Because more than they want anything else, they want to STAY wealthy. You don’t do that by risking your stash on a business venture. Perhaps our tax and regulatory structure could be more business friendly, but I don’t believe that the current structure is why the holders of wealth are not creating jobs. They don’t need to …. pure and simple.

  • Joe

    Serious question for the editors… Does NPQ consistently take a partisan (left-wing) position without giving a fair shake to other positions? I’m debating “unfollowing” NPQ on twitter because the left-wing editorializing is a bit tiresome, but if I’m off base please let me know.