As we make our way into 2015, the Patriotic Millionaires have begun rolling out our two year plan to combat key issues facing our nation’s economy. The media is taking notice, including Bloomberg who profiled the group on their Bloomberg View Politics blog in March:
During a 2013 meeting with bankers at a rooftop restaurant in Athens, Morris Pearl thought he saw a parade on the street below. It turned out to be an unruly protest over the nation’s dismal economy. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘Are we really doing anything good for anyone other than the bankers?’,” said Pearl.
Within a year, Pearl, 55, had resigned as a managing director of BlackRock Inc. to become chairman of Patriotic Millionaires, a coalition of wealthy American progressives demanding that their taxes be raised.
The group is mounting a two-year campaign, culminating in the 2016 presidential election, to advance three goals: increasing the minimum wage, raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and countering the influence of big (conservative) money in politics. “I think of political and economic inequality as twin cancers,” Pearl said. “A tiny number of people are using their money to increase their political power and using their political power to increase their wealth, and it is killing the country.”
Recognizing that they are no match for a conservative Republican Congress with very different priorities, Patriotic Millionaires is looking to bulk up. The group recently merged with Wealth for the Common Good, a group of about 5,000 liberals co-founded by Chuck Collins, an heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune.
In the next few months, Pearl said, he hopes at least to double the number of Patriotic Millionaires, which now stands at about 200. The recruitment drive got a jump-start after Pearl appeared on a February 26 “Daily Show” segment on income inequality. Most new members, whose ranks include bankers, entrepreneurs, technology executives and actors, are referred by an existing member. Walk-ins are vetted to ensure that they meet the criteria — annual income of at least $1 million or assets of at least $5 million.
The group’s message echoes the case that member Nick Hanauer has been making in print and television appearances in recent years: “Smart capitalists” know that good wages help the economy.