Dec 22, 2010

Raise My Taxes, Please, Say Rich People Upset Over Breaks for Millionaires

While the wealthiest taxpayers will gain financially if Republicans and the president successfully extend the Bush-era tax cuts in Congress, a group of millionaires and business owners said they will be disheartened if they pay less taxes next year. Members of the Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, a group of 89 millionaires, petitioned President Obama to allow tax cuts on incomes greater than $1 million to expire at the end of the year, as scheduled.

Morris Pearl, a managing director with BlackRock and a petition signatory, said he was "sad" rather than angry at President Obama for agreeing to the proposed tax cuts.

"I don't care if the rate is this or that," said Pearl, who added he was not speaking on behalf of his employer. "But I feel that just by changing his mind, it gives people the feeling that he'll change his mind about anything."

Pearl also expressed concern over the possibility that Social Security premiums eventually may be affected, because the president's debt commission proposed reducing Social Security benefits and raising the retirement age to 68 by 2050.

Other members of the Patriotic Millionaires have expressed a wide range of emotions, according to Erica Payne, who helps coordinate the organization.

"There is a lot of general frustration that the White House couldn't get a better deal and didn't lay the groundwork for a better deal," said Payne, a founder of the political strategy group, the Agenda Project. "A few people are resigned. Several of them are pretty mad."

"I think it's a terrible deal for Democrats," said Guy Saperstein, founding member of the Patriotic Millionaires and a former civil rights attorney. "It's terrible on many levels but the most important one is the tax cuts for the rich."

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