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Millionaires support raising taxes

By Kay Bell · Bankrate.com
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Posted: 1 pm ET

© Pressmaster/Shutterstock.comThose wacky rich folks are at it again.

Some wealthy Americans say they support a tax increase on themselves to help reduce income inequality.

That's one of the results from CNBC's recent Millionaire Survey. Of the 514 millionaires polled in March by Spectrem Group, 51 percent believe income inequality is a "major problem" for the United States. Of that that group, nearly two-thirds said the wealth gap could be narrowed with a higher minimum wage and higher taxes on the wealthy.

A cynic might say that the rich support paying higher taxes because right now the chances of that happening are slim. It's an election year and no politician wants to demand that potential voters pony up more in taxes before they head to the polls.

Plus, Congress already has whacked the rich pretty hard of late. In 2013 alone, wealthier taxpayers faced five new and higher taxes.

Hard work still lauded

Before some of you get all worked up about a possibly skewed poll, CNBC points out that the surveyed group was split between Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

And the millionaires also hold some expected opinions.

CNBC reports that the millionaires surveyed earlier this year are proud of their high incomes and attribute their financial success to their own hard work, smart investing and good savings habits.

They also believe that anyone in America can join their ranks if they work hard.

But the millionaires also told the pollsters that cultural and family issues keep many Americans from climbing the wealth ladder.

To overcome such obstacles, in addition to higher taxes on themselves, the rich support better education and better savings incentives for the poor and middle class.

Repeat of earlier message

It's not the first time that rich folks have wanted to pitch for the country's overall economic good via taxes.

Back in 2009, the rich members of Wealth for the Common Good lobbied for hiking the top income tax rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent for individuals making more than $235,000.

The added tax money, according to the nonprofit group, would help create an economy that works for everyone.

The wealthy members of that group got their wish. In January 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act, popularly known as the "fiscal cliff" bill, bumped up the top income tax rate to 39.6 percent.

More tax money, smaller deficit

The rich's added tax contributions seem to have helped with the United States' budget deficit.

Seven months into the 2014 budget year that started Oct. 1, 2013, the federal deficit stood at $306.4 billion. That puts the deficit 37 percent lower than at the same period last year.

A major contributor to the deficit reduction was Uncle Sam's April revenue surplus, thanks primarily to annual tax payments.

Still, the gap between rich and poor continues to grow. So taxes obviously aren't the only answer. The bottom line is that more people at more income levels need to be making more money.

Congressional approval of transportation legislation that would save 700,000 jobs, along with, as the millionaires mentioned, a hike in the minimum wage, would be good steps to help shore up the lower end of the economic earnings scale.

Lawmakers tend to pay more attention to folks with more money. So maybe they'll listen to the millionaires when it comes to income inequality.

Whether they'll do so before or after ballots are cast on Nov. 4 remains to be seen.

Bankrate's income analysis shows a widening gap.

More tax info from Bankrate

Want the latest news on taxes, tax reform prospects, filing deadlines, Internal Revenue Service alerts and tax-saving tips? Subscribe to Bankrate's free Weekly Tax Tip newsletter.

You also can follow me on Twitter: @taxtweet.

Veteran contributing editor Kay Bell is the author of the book "The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes" and co-author of the e-book "Future Millionaires' Guidebook."

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38 Comments
Southerner01
September 08, 2014 at 12:40 pm

This article is being intentionally deceptive. They try to make it sound like a majority of millionaires support raising taxes, but if you read what is written carefully, it is 2/3 of the 51% who believe income inequality is a problem.

So, in reality, only 1/3 of millionaires support raising taxes to reduce income inequality, meaning that millionaires, as a group, do not support this.

Collins Rose
May 16, 2014 at 10:28 pm

I agree with Dave. Don't they have checkbooks and pens? Do they know how to use the checkbook and pen?

Dave
May 16, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Flamengo1265--Good one

alan
May 16, 2014 at 9:15 pm

So these rich folks want to pay higher taxes immediately? Are they incapable of writing a personal check in the amount they feel they underpaid? Are they taking any deductions on their personal income taxes, do they claim all of their income, earned or unearned? Why do they require the government to take it from them rather than just send in more? Why don't they reduce they salaries and allow more of the money stay in the companies that they are employed in?

Flamengo1265
May 16, 2014 at 7:58 pm

At first I thought that this title/article didn't make sense. Then I saw that it was an MSNBC poll....you can always rely on MSNBC for comic relief.

Dave
May 16, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Ruby-15% of the rich inherit their wealth, 85% make it in their lifetime. You talk like it’s easy to become financially secure. If it’s so easy why aren’t you wealthy? Instead of going to college for four years, why didn’t you go for 8-12 & become a Doctor. Then start your own business. If you did, would feel lucky or just more responsible? No, it’s just easier to have others pay for you. Let's just tax the job creators to death. The true backbone of this Country is the business Owners. It’s very simple. If you pay taxes, you are either an employer or an employee. As an employer, I’m subject to all of the same taxes that my employees pay, plus more. I know what you’re thinking (that you pay taxes to). Yes you do, but where do they come from?
-You wouldn’t pay any Federal taxes, if your employer didn’t create a job for you.
-You wouldn’t pay any State taxes, if your employer didn’t create a job for you.
-You wouldn’t pay any County, Township, or City taxes, if your employer didn’t create a job for you (then where would your Fire, Police or any other Local service come from?).
-If it wasn’t for an Employer creating jobs, our Government wouldn’t have any money for Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. If it wasn’t for businesses, we wouldn’t have all of these programs.
-Oh ya. Those roads & bridges that Obama has talked about, they are paid by income taxes (from income due to a job created by an employer) and by road taxes on gasoline & tolls. This money also originates from a job, supplied by an employer.
-Unless you employees are counterfeiting money, every dollar you have originates from an employer. I dare you to prove me wrong. Tomorrow morning, go to work & quit. Your employer will still be in business, but once your unemployment runs out (which is paid by your employer) where will your money come from. Of course there are government programs (of which all of the tax money originates from a business).
A successful small businessperson will have to pay up to 40% in Fed taxes, both sides of the SS tax which is 12.4% (plus Med/Medicare), plus their State, county & City tax which in some States is 10-13%. OVER 60%! Then if they die with too much money, you Liberals steal another 40% of the remaining 40% (and some of you want to raise it to 55%)! There comes a time when it is not only THEFT, but stupid. Obama is right. The rich don't need the money. So they don't need to expand their business, buy another business, or even keep their business going. Where are your jobs going to come from when you persuade the business Owners to quit or to at least “not expand”? I’m 55. I’ve been saving & investing since I was 10. In 2009 my retired GM employee brother-in-law said “why can’t the rich just pay more”? I know that you don’t want to hear my whole response, but how ironic it was that we were still driving our 1998 Oldsmobile as our main vehicle (cost $26,000.00 brand new) and he had a policy of buying a new car every three years. He had one of the best jobs in the world for 30 years, spent every dollar he made on depreciable items (never bought a house) and gambling, and then he was furious that he couldn’t tax job creators more & take their money, to bail him out. We’re not even in the “rich” category, but we did without, paid off our house, put money aside for retirement, and now he & his friends want my savings & profit on my investments to be taxed more, so he can steal our savings & investments through a government program. It just isn’t fair!

If a millionaire is only paying 15%, then it’s because they’re paying it on “capital gains” income. That means that they worked, paid income taxes, saved some of the money, risked losing it in an investment, made a profit, and now they have to pay MORE taxes than the person who didn’t save a dime. Of course the 15% was probably after the Corporation already paid up to 35%. If you want to pay 15%, then save & invest your money instead of spending all of it.

I feel that in four years I’ll have enough to be financially secure. Then my decision will be to keep working or quit. I could keep working, but by the time I pay my Fed (average 31%),State,local (4%) & both sides of the SS & Medicare/Medicaid (15.3%) tax I’m over 50%. Then if I die with too much, my Family will lose another 40% + in inheritance taxes (you people will probably lower the exemption to $1,000,000). So, I can keep working (for money I won’t need) or I can quit, lay off my 12 employees and sit on the beach & drink some rum. Hmmmmm. Anyone want to party? Raise my taxes more, & I’ll quit sooner!!!!!!!!!!

Governmentsuxs
May 16, 2014 at 6:29 pm

BS if they really believed that raise the other peoples wages.

gomerpyle
May 16, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Ruby,

Your post is so full of generalizations that it's hard to even evaluate. With that said, I'm sure you do work harder than some "wealthy" people, but I'm equally sure that many "wealthy" people work harder than many people on the other side of the income gap.

Who gets to decide who is "wealthy" and subject to confiscatory taxation? How is that wealth redistributed? Do those with the least get most of it, or is there some merit-based system? If so, do you also base the amount taken from a given "wealthy" person on the amount of work expended to achieve it? If a man works himself to death and leaves money to his children who are lazy, do they get credit for the efforts of their forebears?

The devil is in the details, which is where the grandiose Robin Hood schemes always fall apart...

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