Patriotic Millionaires: Income Inequality Is Un-American, It's Time to Tax the Rich

April 4, 2019

By Chloe Aiello

Progressive taxation is key both to mitigating income inequality and to taking the 2020 election, Patriotic Millionaires Chair Morris Pearl told Cheddar on Tuesday.

"Somehow the Republicans convinced Americans, starting in the 1980s, that we're supposed to have the wealthy get wealthier and the poor get poorer, but that's not the way that our country was for hundreds of years and that's not the way it should be," Pearl said.

The Patriotic Millionaires is an organization comprised of high earning Americans that advocates for "progressive tax rates," or higher taxes for higher earners and lower taxes for lower earners. Pearl, who said he earns much of his income from selling stock, said tax loopholes for people like him aren't fair to the rest of working Americans.

"We are focusing on some of the real [sic] unfairnesses, like the loophole for people who earn their pay through carried interest ... people who inherit large sums of money, or people who don't even work ーpeople like me that just sell stock occasionally," he said.

Pearl compared Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) proposed wealth tax, which The New York Times reported would shift some of the burden for funding the government to ultra-wealthy individuals and families, to the type of taxes on which the nation was founded.

"We started the country with taxing people on how much real estate they had, how much land they owned, and that represented almost all of peoples' wealth at the time the country began. We didn't have an income tax until many decades later," he said.

He stopped short of endorsing it, saying he'd "have to see the details of how it would be administered," but argued something needs to be done to maintain a robust middle class in the U.S. ー and a new administration could be just the ticket. The Patriotic Millionaires hope 2020 will be a decisive election, and that candidates will embrace their progressive approach to taxation.

"We are talking to people and trying to explain to them these progressive narratives are how to win 2020," Pearl said.

For full interview click here.

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