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Wealthy Taxpayers Say, 'Tax Us More,' in Open Letter to Super-Committee
BOSTON - November 15 - United for a Fair Economy (UFE) has published an open letter to Congress’ Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or the “Super-Committee.” The letter was signed by more than 100 members and supporters of UFE’s Responsible Wealth project who are business owners, investors and wealthy individuals in the top 5 percent of the U.S. economy. The letter calls for the majority of deficit reduction to be achieved with higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
The twelve member Super-Committee has been tasked with negotiating a plan by November 23 that will reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion, in addition to the nearly $1 trillion in cuts made in August.
All of the signers have incomes of more than $200,000 and are willing to pay income tax at a 39.6 percent rate, as outlined in President Obama's proposal to allow the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts for upper-income households. Among the signers are 15 people with incomes in excess of $1 million who support rates of at least 45 percent on themselves. The signers hail from 23 states, including 6 of the 11 states represented by members of the Super-Committee.
Recent polls show that the majority of Americans, including wealthy people, strongly support higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
The letter includes two additional key principles:
- At least half of all spending cuts should be made by reducing unnecessary military expenditures.
- None of the spending cuts should adversely impact beneficiaries of key social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education and other programs relied upon by low- and middle-income families.
If the Super-Committee fails to negotiate a deal by November 23, $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts – half from defense, half from domestic programs (Social Security and Medicare exempted) – will take effect in January 2013. United for a Fair Economy and the signers of this letter believe that no deal is better than a bad deal. Together, they urge Super-Committee members to reject any proposal that does not meet the above principles. Read the letter at www.faireconomy.org/super-committee
The following individuals are available for comment regarding this letter:
- Arul Menezes, Research Manager and Software Architect, Microsoft Research, WA: “As an upper-income taxpayer whose wealth was entirely earned, rather than inherited, I feel my success was in great part due to the egalitarian and meritocratic society I encountered when I came to the U.S. That society has been all but destroyed by the current tax code. Today, much of my income is from capital gains and dividends. I find it grotesque that these should be taxed lower than income from work.”
- Phillippe Villers, President of Grainpro Inc., Concord, MA: “I am willing to pay more taxes to save the American economy. As an investor, I make decisions based on the opportunity offered, not the tax rates for wealthy Americans. Cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will not help to revive our struggling economy. I strongly oppose any compromise in the Super-Committee that does not include new revenues from those who can afford them, like myself, for half or more of this deficit reduction plan.”
- Jim Wellehan, President of Lamey-Wellehan Shoes, Auburn, ME: “I find it terribly frustrating that other large national and international companies pay little to no taxes. To continue with an unfair tax code is to encourage cheating. We should tax incomes of all types at the same rates, be they from capital gains, rent, dividends, interest or work.”
- Lee Farris, Federal Tax Policy Coordinator, United for a Fair Economy: “Much of the federal deficit is due to the 2001 Bush tax cuts – which largely went to the wealthy – and to two expensive and unpaid-for wars. The automatic cuts, while still very harsh and unfair to low- and middle-income families, would be better than a deal in the Super-Committee that does not meet the principles outlined in our letter."
United for a Fair Economy ( www.faireconomy.org) is a national organization working to close the growing income and wealth divides in the U.S. Responsible Wealth, a project of United for a Fair Economy, is a network of 700 business leaders, high-wealth and upper-income advocates of progressive tax policies and corporate accountability.