The Patriotic Millionaires v. Sen. Orrin Hatch Continued

Earlier this week, the Patriotic Millionaires sent a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate demanding a hearing and a vote on The Carried Interest Fairness Act, which would eliminate preferential tax treatment for millionaire and billionaire investment fund managers who currently pay half the tax rate of regular Americans.
Today, the Utah chapter of the Patriotic Millionaires reiterated the demand in a letter to their home state lawmaker, Senator Orrin Hatch. As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Hatch has the ability to bring this critical bill (S.1686) up for a hearing and a vote. To date, he has refused to do so.
Closing the loophole has bi-partisan support. On the Republican side both Donald Trump and Gov. Jeb Bush have called for the elimination of the loophole, as have Democrats Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sec. Hillary Clinton. Because there is no intellectually sound reason for the loophole to exist, the Patriotic Millionaires believe the continuation of the loophole is due to undue political influence and campaign contributions.
This is not the first time, the Patriotic Millionaires have tangled with Sen. Hatch. In 2011, Senator Hatch took to the Senate floor to criticize the Patriotic Millionaires’ call for a fairer tax system, and later denounced their work in a letter to the group on April 20, 2011. In that letter, Senator Hatch chastised the Patriotic Millionaires for not just voluntarily donating funds to the U.S. Treasury.
The Patriotic Millionaires challenged Hatch’s criticism pointing out the fruitlessness of such a small number of people attempting to solve such a large problem. They said, “That you seem to think reminding us of this is a constructive contribution to this serious debate indicates that you have missed the point. . . to suggest that we try to tackle this problem by making individual contributions is, frankly, insulting. It is like suggesting to someone expressing a desire to serve their country by bearing arms that they buy a rifle and a plane ticket to Afghanistan. Some problems are too big to be solved except through collective effort and shared sacrifice, and this is one of them.”

April 13th, 2016

Dear Senator Hatch,

We write to you today as members of the Utah chapter of the Patriotic Millionaires, a group of Americans dedicated to building a more prosperous, stable, and inclusive nation by advancing three core values in the public debate: fair taxes, decent wages, and political equality.

On April 20, 2011, in a letter addressed to the Patriotic Millionaires you said “picking winners and losers through the tax code is a fool’s errand.” In that letter you noted that the Senate Committee on Finance was committed to tax reform and suggested that we continue to contact you with questions and comments as the Committee “continues its consideration of reforms to the nation’s tax laws.”

As such, we write you today with a simple question:

Why have you, as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, continued to “pick winners” in the tax code by refusing to hold a hearing or a vote on The Carried Interest Fairness Act (Bill S. 1686) which would end preferential tax treatment for Wall Street fund managers?  

As you well know, an elite group of investment fund managers is currently reaping huge profits while paying lower tax rates than almost everyone else in the country. This is clearly an example of “picking a winner” in the tax code. Using what is known as the “carried interest loophole,” these managers are avoiding paying billions of dollars in taxes by classifying income earned in the “ordinary” course of business as capital gains. Historically, carried interest was an incentive for sea merchants to risk their boats and lives transporting cargo. The incentive has been twisted by special interest lobbyists to include investment managers who are not, we are quite certain, risking their lives to make profits.

Republican leaders from Donald Trump to Gov. Jeb Bush have called for the closure of the loophole, as have Democratic leaders from Sec. Hillary Clinton to Sen. Bernie Sanders. Despite this rare bipartisan agreement, the bill to close the loophole (S.1686) remains stalled in your committee.

As millionaires who are proud to call Utah home, we would like to know why our congressional delegation and particularly you, are supporting a loophole that lets millionaire fund managers “win” and regular Utah citizens “lose.”

As our elected official, we ask that you act on behalf of the people you represent. We recognize our duty as citizens to pay a fair share of taxes. Now it is time for our legislators to recognize their duty to enact laws that will mandate this.


The Patriotic Millionaires of Utah


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