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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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37 Comments
Rick Hawk
May 16, 2014 at 4:39 pm

To Mike at 3:53PM

Mike the national debt did not go down since Obama took office. It was 5.6 trillion in the year 2000 and it now stands at over 7 trillion. Why would you call Fox News for the simple answer to why your (average) tax is 15%. The federal income tax has brackets. When you refer to your "million dollar" tax rate of 35% that is the highest tax BRACKET. The highest tax bracket is the tax rate on your last dollar of income. I understand those being on the Left have it hard comprehending - but come on - it's not that difficult.

Ruby
May 16, 2014 at 4:28 pm

These comment are laughable. I came from a desperately poor family. I have worked hard every since I was 16 years old. I graduated from college with a 4 year degree, am straddled with student loan debt, and can barely make ends meet. I always work over-time and have never turned down a day of work. I am no where close to being a millionaire, or even making six-figures for that matter. Wealthy people don't work that hard; in fact the majority of them wouldn't know hard work if it slapped them in the face. They inherit their wealth, steal it, or just get a lucky break (for the most part). I don't know too may self-made millionaires. Tax the hell out of them; especially since the polls indicate the majority of them wouldn't mind (I don't see them putting their money where their mouth is)!

mike
May 16, 2014 at 3:53 pm

since I'am standing in the elevator of tax reform I thought I might take a minute here. hum if my million dollar tax rate is o say 35% of my income than why do I really pay 15%. I called the folks at fox news and am still waiting for THE answer. the debt of ours has gone down since oboma has been in office. so the do nothing congress has done something with or for us after all. o happy day. just a thought from the left side of right. have a good day.

Joe Gideon
May 16, 2014 at 3:13 pm

"dot west",
Shame on YOU for that attitude!
You know as well as I that most rich folk work "smarter", not necessarily harder. That's no reason to get insulting. As far as Fox News goes, I think Fair and Balanced is a good idea; why would you say otherwise?

Dave
May 16, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Dot & Charles--If you think that anyone who has over a few million should have to give it up, then businesses would stagnate as soon as they really got going. No business would be employing over a few dozen people. 1 in 3 businesses fail within the first 3 years. Over 60% within 7 years. If one of them can be really successful, the last thing you should want is for them to have to give up their extra profit (who decides what is extra? You? Charles). Don't you want these successful people to continue to expand & create jobs? Don't you care about jobs for your friend & children. Unless YOU are going to create a job for them, don't you want someone else to? It sounds to me like you & Charles rely on "others" for your employment and you're just jealous of them. If your not jealous, why don't you & Charles start your own businesses and then after years (and maybe decades) of doing the extra work to run a business, You & Charles can give your millions away. Or are you tooooooo lazy?

charles mofford
May 16, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Way to Go Dot

Dave
May 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm

This poll is obviously a joke. Everyone who pays attention to Politics knows that NBC/CNBC is just an arm of the Democrat Party. Most people use 3% as the number of rich people. We have approx. 135-140 million tax returns every year. That means that the "rich" are approx. 4 million people. Back in 2010, President Obama made a big deal about the fact that he had 2000 rich people sign his petition for higher taxes. That means that at that time, only one in 2000 rich people agreed to have their taxes raised. Now we're expected that over 51% want to raise their taxes. CNBC simply made sure that over 51% of the ones they polled were from Obama's list. Go ahead, raise taxes on the jobs creators & watch our jobs go away. Remember, these people are rich. Most of them are in their 50's-80's and on the verge of retirement. Between Federal (39%), some State,City,County taxes adding up to 12-13%, and since they're already rich, they'll have to pay an additional inheritance tax on any money they make. Their effective tax rate is over 70%!!! Let's see, should they expand their business and pay these taxes? Or just retire? What would YOU do?

gomerpyle
May 16, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Newsflash--"nearly 2/3" of 51% is not a majority. In fact, that 33ish percent of those polled is a 2:1 minority.

What's more, the articles states that this 33% believe that "the wealth gap could be narrowed with a higher minimum wage and higher taxes on the wealthy". How much would this supposed reduction amount to? How much of it would be attributable to the increased minimum wage vs. higher taxes. And by the way, I wonder who these respondents are considering as "wealthy"...

This is a silly article whose top line is basically undermined by the data it cites.

Bob
May 16, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Her is an idea. Just let the government collect all the wages and then just mail everyone a check for the same amount. That is the ideal world for the left. Oh, but that would be a problem for them since they couldn't buy votes with your money and keep people poor so they would vote for them.

dot west
May 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm

For the nut who says to work harder and earn it I say get a grip pal. Do you really think a few million is not enough?Shame! Blue collar folks work a hell of alot harder than those with millions.Now go get some more stupid ideas from FOX no news.

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