Progressive Wealthy Getting Louder in Tax Compromise Debate

ABC News logo

Obama-GOP Tax Cut Deal Riles 'Patriotic Millionaires'

Column appeared on, December 11, 2010

Wealthy, business owners disappointed taxes may go down next year.

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. [...]

"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."

Adding to the Budget Deficit

Saperstein said the tax cuts for the rich and the estate tax would have helped to lower the national debt instead of costing the government $700 billion or more over the next several years.

Saperstein also was disappointed by the reinstatement of the estate tax at 35 percent for two years starting next year with an exemption of $5 million of one's estate. If the tax breaks expire as scheduled at the end of this year, the estate tax would be 55 percent, with a $1 million exemption.

"It would benefit only the top less-than-1-percent, a huge benefit for them," said Saperstein. "I happen to be in that category, but it's still a bad deal for the public. If this deal goes down, the Republicans are going to demand that those deficits be corrected in some way. The public and working class people will end up paying for those deficits."[...]

Lee Farris, estate tax policy coordinator for the organizationUnited for a Fair Economy, said the tax proposal was "outrageous."

"The deal would make the estate tax even weaker than it was under President Bush, the weakest it's been in more than seven decades," said Farris, whose organization is comprised of business owners and farmers across the country.

Estate Tax Giveaway

Farris said the deal was "unacceptable" because it "gives away too much and gets too little in return," via the extension of unemployment benefits and low-income tax credits.

"The people who already have the most money have said, 'We're going to have a weaker estate tax or you can forget about unemployment.' And to me, that's an immoral position," said Farris. "They're saying that's more important than [helping] someone who has lost their job through no fault of their own."

Dave Eiffert, a small business owner who has worked with United for a Fair Economy, said he hoped for a higher estate tax ceiling and deeper tax cuts for the middle class instead of tax cuts for those making $200,000 and more.

Eiffert, co-owner of Snoqualmie Brewery in Snoqualmie, Wash., said he is below the $200,000 income level and is opposed to the notion that tax cuts to the wealthiest will trickle down to create jobs for others.

But Eiffert said it is not too late for the public to speak its mind on the various tax issues before the year comes to a close.

"I always hold out hope until it is a done deal," said Eiffert. "I urge people to contact their legislators and tell them what they want done. And I hope there will be something better than what has been proposed."

Read the full column on

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.


184 High St., Suite 603
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 423-2148


711 Mason Road
Durham, NC 27712

We gather as guests on Indigenous land

Created with NationBuilder