The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sam Quigley

Patriotic Millionaires Hit House Ways and Means Chair Where it Hurts (in District)

Organization Makes Real on Retaliation Threat, Fires a Shot Across the Bow Against Dems Standing in the Way of Billionaire Tax Hikes.


Today, the Patriotic Millionaires launched an ad campaign in Rep. Richard Neal's district, MA-01, targeting the Ways and Means Chair in the first salvo of a campaign to hold Democrats accountable for standing in the way of meaningful tax reform.

The hard-hitting attack ad - by the creator of the infamous "Granny Off the Cliff" ad - is set to run on morning and evening news shows in the Congressman's district, as well as popular cable programming on Thursday and Friday.

The ad comes on the heels of Neal's House Ways and Means Committee concluding its work on a rewrite of the federal tax code that preserves the preferential treatment the rich receive in the tax code.


Erica Payne, President and Founder of the Patriotic Millionaires, said:

"President Joe Biden ran and won on tax reform. The people who voted for him believed that he would make sure - for the first time in decades - working Americans would get a fair shake. Right now, every dollar a millionaire investor makes is more valuable than every dollar that a working person makes. President Biden is trying to fix that. Chairman Neal is standing in the way and his constituents should know it.

For the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee to go before the American people after a referendum election in 2020 and tell them this is the best they can hope for is absurd. Tax policy is complicated. This is not. Working people in America should not pay a higher tax rate than billionaires. Full stop.

We're ready to bring this fight to every district in the country to hold legislators accountable. Follow the will of your constituents, not your donors. Your country needs you.

We're now looking to Senator Wyden, who has long been a champion of these issues, to fix this bill in the Senate Finance Committee."

This ad buy will be accompanied by an in-person protest in front of Rep. Neal's Springfield district office on 2pm ET Friday, September 17th, with special guests Jennifer Taub, rock guitarist Samoa Moriki, Cleanup Carl, the nation's first anti-corruption superhero, and the Tax The Rich! mobile billboard straight from Capitol Hill.

The Patriotic Millionaires are demanding the Senate Finance Committee and Democratic leadership make the following changes to the bill:

  1. End the preferential tax rate for capital gains income over $1 million as President Biden requested.There is no intellectual or economic justification for working people in America to pay a higher tax rate than investors.
  2. Eliminate the "stepped up basis" that allows the heirs of billionaires to avoid capital gains taxes on inherited assets (provide a reasonable exemption for family farms and small businesses). The Committee's failure to address this problem at all is particularly troubling.
  3. End the Carried Interest Loophole which allows fund managers to mis-characterize their "ordinary" income as capital gain income for tax purposes. The W&M proposal extends the hold time for investments to 5 years. Given that most private equity firms hold investments for 6 years, this change will have essentially zero effect. The loophole should be eliminated entirely.

This campaign follows intense opposition from the Patriotic Millionaires over the last week to House moderates' attempts to block President Biden's agenda and limit the scope of the reconciliation bill's tax hikes on wealthy individuals and corporations. Please see HERE a Politico piece from Friday detailing the organization's plans to hold centrist Democrats accountable for their obstruction.

Please also see our initial correspondence to the Democratic caucus HERE, our subsequent correspondence to the House Ways and Means Committee HERE, and a letter sent on Sunday to the White House urging President Biden to use any and all means necessary to pressure problem Democrats from blocking his agenda HERE.

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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