Happy Tax Day! For millions of Americans, today is the last day to file federal, state, and local taxes. (If you haven’t already filed, get cracking!)
But Tax Day is more than just a filing deadline – it’s the one day a year when everyone in America is thinking about taxes, and is an annual reminder of just how skewed in favor of the rich our tax code really is.
For some time in America, millionaires and billionaires have benefited from a tax code that heavily favors their interests over working people. Countless loopholes, exemptions, deductions, and lower rates have all worked in tandem to create an America where billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos sometimes get away with paying nothing in federal income taxes. These low tax rates for the rich have not created jobs or spurred economic growth, but instead have increased inequality in America to a level not seen in over a century and destabilized both our economy and our democracy along the way.
Something has to change, and the Patriotic Millionaires are committed to leading the fight for tax and economic justice. That’s why, earlier today, we did several things to draw attention to our cause.
We started the day by parking a mobile billboard outside the US Capitol with a few rotating images (like the one below) that highlighted the need to tax the rich:
Afterwards, several of our members joined a number of Congress’ biggest tax fairness champions for a press conference to announce our shared commitment to work for a better tax code. Our Congressional allies included Rep. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34; Sponsor of the For the 99.5% Act), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07; Sponsor of the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act), Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09; Sponsor of the Billionaire Minimum Income Tax Act), Rep. Katie Porter (CA-47), and Rep. Greg Casar (TX-35).
Click HERE to watch a full replay of their remarks.
Below is a photo of our Chair, Morris Pearl, giving his opening remarks at the press conference.
Here’s another photo of us on the steps of the Capitol with some “special guests:”
Lastly, we also marked this Tax Day with the release of a bold new tax agenda – “Preserve Democratic Capitalism Tax Agenda” – that, if passed into law, would ensure prosperity for the American economy for the next 250 years.
In 2025, we will have a major chance to change the tax code. Many provisions of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which gave enormous and unnecessary tax breaks to the rich, will expire that year. Lawmakers should let those provisions expire but also use the opportunity to create an entirely brand new tax code, one that wholly prioritizes the interests of working people over the wealthy and works to constrain democracy-destabilizing levels of inequality.
We believe this brand new tax code should incorporate the three major principles of our Preserve Democratic Capitalism Tax Agenda. They are as follows:
1. Tax all income over $1 million in the same manner, regardless of how it was generated
– Tax capital gains at the same rates as ordinary income and, in so doing, eliminate the carried interest loophole, which gives a tax break to private equity and hedge fund managers
– Replace the loophole-ridden estate and gift tax system with a simpler income tax on inheritances received by heirs
– Eliminate the deduction for income made from “pass-through” businesses, most of which are legal fictions created by the rich to avoid taxes
– Institute President Biden’s Billionaire Minimum Income Tax, which would ensure the richest Americans pay a minimum tax rate of 20% on their full incomes (including unrealized capital gains)
– Close the stepped-up basis loophole, which allows heirs to inherit assets without paying capital gains taxes
2. Implement a truly progressive federal income tax by making changes at both the top and bottom
– Create new income tax brackets with higher rates (reaching as high as 90% on incomes over $100 million) to ensure that the extremely wealthy are taxed more than the merely well-off
– Increase the standard deduction to exempt all income up to a living wage, because the current standard deduction ($12,950) isn’t enough to cover basic essentials in America today
3. Institute a wealth tax that constrains extreme wealth concentration
– Pass the Oppose Limitless Inequality Growth and Restore Civil Harmony (OLIGARCH) Act. A Patriotic Millionaires original, this Act would institute a wealth tax which would link tax brackets to multiples of the median American household wealth. Under this Act, as wealth inequality increases, the rich would pay more tax; as it wanes, they would pay less tax. The end goal is to slow democracy-destabilizing, extreme wealth concentration.
We think, as capitalists who care about our country’s success, that this is hardly a radical proposal. Nothing about it, even 90% tax rates for incomes over $100 million, is more than the affected wealthy Americans would be able to afford (or even far from the historical norm for much of the 20th century). In fact, it would still leave them, and us, with plenty to enjoy, while ensuring our society stops skewing ever further in favor of the ultra-rich.
Contrary to popular belief, rich people like us did not rise to the top solely on the basis of our own hard work, talents, and abilities. We got direct and indirect help from our shared social infrastructure – our schools, roads, bridges, courts, police forces, libraries, and more. To that end, we believe that we should be giving more to the society that enabled our extraordinary financial success.
Happy Tax Day. Tax the rich.