For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Contact: Will Whitmire
Millionaires React to ProPublica Report Detailing how the Wealthy Avoid Paying Taxes
“You’re either for equality or plutocracy. Pick a side.”
Washington, DC – Yesterday ProPublica released a scathing report detailing a trove of IRS records that revealed how the wealthiest people in our country avoid income taxes.
In response, over a dozen Patriotic Millionaires from across the country released statements reacting to the report and calling for the wealthiest Americans to step up and join us in support of a fair tax system that requires more from millionaires and billionaires.
Statements from Patriotic Millionaires include Disney heiress Abigail Disney, Former Facebook VP Brain Boland, and former managing director at Blackrock, Inc. and Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, Morris Pearl, to name a few. Read full member statements below:
“Many things about the ProPublica tax report are infuriating, but the most irksome thing is that none of the methods by which these billionaires avoid paying their much-needed fair share of taxes is illegal. None of these methods is seen as unethical, not in keeping with the spirit of tax laws. Our system is fundamentally flawed because it is structured on assumptions that are flawed and even, I would suggest, immoral,” said Abigail Disney, Disney heiress and Patriotic Millionaire.
“This report proves with hard data what we have all known – that the tax system is designed to give the wealthy a pass while hard working Americans carry the load for investing in America. It is time to change our tax code so that everyone pays their fair share in building a vibrant America,” said Brian Boland, Patriotic Millionaire and former Facebook VP.
“Everyone who works for a living has taxes withheld from the paycheck every week. As the Patriotic Millionaires has been saying for years: our system does not collect taxes from those people who make money from their wealth as opposed to their labor. This is wrong – there is no justification for a tax code that allows billionaires to pay significantly lower tax rates than normal working Americans. We must change the tax code to force the rich to pay their fair share,” said Morris Pearl, former managing partner at Blackrock and Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires.
“Rich people like to say ‘Hey, I’m just maximizing my wealth under the law, nothing wrong with that.’ But in my book, that’s only OK if you’re also fighting tooth and nail for tax reform that redistributes wealth to the poor and middle class. You can’t sit quietly by as plutocrats write the law to benefit themselves, take advantage of the law yourself, and then say you did nothing wrong. You’re either for equality or plutocracy. Pick a side.” Charlotte Hill, Patriotic Millionaire.
“Well, it’s not a secret any longer. Absolutely shameful,” said Kristin Luck, founder/managing partner of ScaleHouse, Patriotic Millionaire
“I cannot imagine one billionaire cited by ProPublica being against a tax reform so that they each pay an equitable tax. It is time for them, as a group, to speak out forcefully in favor of tax reform. (Donald Trump, you’re excused),” said Michael Nash, Patriotic Millionaire.
“ProPublica has exposed the sad but simple truth about the United States – the ultra-wealthy accumulate wealth while the middle class shrinks more and more. The regressive income tax scheme set up by Congress at the request of their monied donors is achieving their end goal – a sham democracy run for the benefit of less than 1% of the population,” said Arthur Strauss, Patriotic Millionaire.
“While the findings of the ProPublica report were not a surprise, there is no way to describe the findings other than”obscene.” The failure of our government to deal with this has created the wealth gap that now permeates and infects this country. It must be treated…now,” said Rick Feldman, broadcast TV station executive and Patriotic Millionaire.
“The disparity between the wealthiest and the rest of the citizens of this country is harming America. Hard decisions must be made to lessen this disparity,” said Patriotic Millionaire Terence Meehan, Chairman and CEO of Azimuth Investment Management, LLC.
“Rich people have been accumulating wealth at the expense of taxpayers–the public–and cheating our country out of public investments in care for our children, good education, and adequate health care. And yet, even in the face of the crisis created and exposed by the pandemic, they’ve chosen to hoard their wealth instead of contributing even a measly percent back to society,” said Patriotic Millionaire Alan S. Davis, Director of the WhyNot Initiative, President of the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund.
“It is grossly unfair how much the tax system is tilted in favor of the wealthy. We should pay a higher share of our gains than other Americans, not less. This country has always treasured rewarding hard work. I especially favor encouraging work by eliminating the step up in basis upon death and by raising estate taxes (even though I have 3 sons),” said James Colen, Patriotic Millionaire.
“As an inheritor of wealth, it is outrageous that portfolios can grow larger each year without being taxed unless a stock is sold. Who ever sells all of their investments? These are hidden from taxes for decades or more. STOP THIS STEAL!” said Jean Kaplan, Patriotic Millionaire.
“Look, we all live in the same country. And it takes money for all of what we require and expect our government to do. The mechanism to raise that money in an advanced society is taxation. It is unfathomable – and grossly inequitable – that those at the highest end of our income and wealth spectrum are permitted to pay either no or very limited taxes. That not only imposes the taxation burden on those who do pay their fair share, but it also perpetuates the debilitating inequities of our taxation system. Without a fair taxation system, at some point our society as we know it will break down. In my opinion, without a substantial revamp of our tax code, that point is in the not-too-distant future. Let’s quickly do the right thing and impose a disproportionately large share of the tax burden on those who are best able to pay it and who benefit the most from our economy and society,” said Jonathan Ruga, CEO of Sentry Financial Corporation, Patriotic Millionaire.
“As if life is not hard enough for the middle class, poor, and fortunate professionals making high incomes although with no wealth. What does America do? It taxes those most burdened, giving the same burdened group more debt while allowing the wealthiest to pay little or no taxes and to build more wealth. Until we tax the wealthiest Americans in a manner that asks all of us to contribute to the betterment of our nation and a social contract, the great divides and inequalities of opportunity will widen,” said Ron Guillot, Patriotic Millionaire.
“ProPublica has provided real world examples that demonstrate our current tax system is not only profoundly unfair but obscene. This should be an affront to all Americans,” said Patriotic Millionaire Michael Rothman, CEO of Conger Management.
It is unconscionable that the wealthiest people in this country enjoy numerous ways to shelter their income and wealth from taxation through complicated special rules and loopholes. They get a free ride on the backs of the workers who have no way to shelter their wages, salaries, or commissions from being 100% taxable. Interest, pensions, and IRA & 401-K distributions received are also taxable (the very things that lower and middle income citizens receive). Investors are showered with special tax breaks while workers and retirees have no way to escape taxes. Shame on the legislators who reward their wealthy and powerful donors with tax breaks when it is the lower income citizens who so desperately need the breaks. We do, indeed, sell our democracy to the highest bidder. It is a disgrace,” said Patriotic Millionaire Karen Seal Stewart
For more information contact: Will Whitmire, [email protected]
About the Patriotic Millionaires
Proud “traitors to their class,” members of the Patriotic Millionaires are high-net worth Americans, business leaders, and investors who are united in their concern about the destabilizing concentration of wealth and power in America. The mission of The Patriotic Millionaires organization is to build a more stable, prosperous, and inclusive nation by promoting public policies based on the “first principles” of equal political representation, a guaranteed living wage for all working citizens, and a fair tax system. You can find out more at https://patrioticmillionaires.org/about/