The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sam Quigley,, 202-446-0489

For The 99.8% Act Will End Billionaire Class' Gluttony and Political Manipulation

"The question is do any of America’s billionaires care more about the nation than their pocketbooks."


Today, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) introduced a new estate tax bill called the For The 99.8% Act. The bill, in direct opposition to an earlier bill introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD) this week, calls for a stronger and more graduated estate tax, with a top tax rate of 77% on estates over $1 billion. Clearly, one side of the aisle is listening to what the American people want, while the other side of the aisle is still listening to their donor class. Now, America's billionaire class needs to pick a side.

In response to this bill, Morris Pearl, former managing director at BlackRock, Inc., and Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires issued the following remarks:

"Rather than being content with the enormous slice of pie they have already been given, America's billionaires are trying to keep the entire pie for themselves and their offspring. Their gluttony - and the political manipulation they employ to feed it - is ripping our country apart. Voters tried to change that at the ballot box. If that doesn't work, they are going to stop putting up with the billionaires altogether and do something more drastic. That is going to end poorly for billionaires who have been enjoying the good life, and for most of the rest of us as well.

We call ourselves the Patriotic Millionaires for a reason - because our country is more important to us than our money. The question is do any of America's billionaires care more about the nation than their pocketbooks. If they do, they will support this legislation."

This legislation would lower the current exemption to $3.5 million of an individual's estate, impacting only the wealthiest 0.2% of Americans. It would also introduce a progressive, marginal tax rate structure to the estate tax, with the highest tax rate being 77% of the value of estates over $1 billion. In addition, the bill would close loopholes in the estate and gift tax, including the ability to claim the value of an inherited asset is lower for estate tax purposes than what is claimed for income tax purposes. Protections for family farms are also included, as the bill allows family farmers to lower the value of their farmland by up to $3 million for estate tax purposes.

The Patriotic Millionaires is a group of high-net worth Americans who share a profound concern about the destabilizing level of inequality in America. Our work centers on the two things that matter most in a capitalist democracy: power and money. Our goal is to ensure that the country's political economy is structured to meet the needs of regular Americans, rather than just millionaires. We focus on three "first" principles: a highly progressive tax system, a livable minimum wage, and equal political representation for all citizens.

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