Over 400 millionaires urge Congress: "Do not cut our taxes"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/11/13/over-400-millionaires-urge-con.html


Here is the problem…they won’t listen. It isn’t about the majority for them…it is about the minority. The very small minority that are their donors and funders, who whisper in their ears and set the agenda. every single millionaire or billionaire could say “don’t”, but if the Koch Brothers say “DO” the GOP will do.


This, and at this point, those 400 millionaires are tiny compared to the power of the .05% – the billionaires who let those 400 exist at their whims.


Ah, but you see, these are the wrong types of HNWIs: not Real American™ Heartland tycoons who extract resources and run railroads and manufacture arms but instead dreaded Coastal Elites like Soros, polluting America with their “alien ideas” via their control of degenerate industries like the media, the banks, culture, and (worst of all) ice cream.

[There, I’ve saved Libertarians who are profoundly discomfited by millionaires making smart arguments for sustainable economics the need to type out their cynical appeals to right-wing populism as a response. You’re welcome.]


GOP will go with their own narrative on this rather than the facts.


These 400 millionaires better pony up or their open letter isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

I am always tempted to engage with the economic argument. The dollar you cut in taxes so that it can go into the economy would have to have a 400% rate of return in order to replace the lost tax revenue it represents. Nothing legal brings that rate of return.

Only an idiot would look at the Koch Brothers or Warren Buffett and say, oh gosh, they don’t have the capital to invest in new business ventures. They have more cash on hand than they have time or ability to invest. Hell, they have so much money that it’s worthwhile to those guys to spend millions on lobbyists. That’s a saturation level of available capital.

Besides that, the wealthy don’t invest their own money in new business ventures. In actual fact, they leverage everything.

But these arguments are window dressing, and it’s stupid of me to engage in them. Obviously the tax cuts are just about keeping more of their wealth to themselves.


I wish those 400 millionaires wanted to do something with their money other than give it to a government that will use it to slaughter brown people far away and strip citizens of fundamental rights at home.

But on the other claw, I like the idea of heavily taxing the 10.4 million American millionaires who didn’t sign the letter.

Because, as Willie Sutton supposedly said, “that’s where the money is”. You can’t run a government on floor sweepers’ wages.


They say the money that corporations and the rich save on their taxes would likely be used to start new companies or build new factories…

Yes, but they’re all in the Cayman Islands and employ one guy part time to receive summonses.


No it doesn’t… Its substantially more complicated than that. In absolute economic terms it is possible it doesn’t matter. For example that 1 dollar saved is spent buying something, the seller spend 1 more dollar on some service, that service provider spends 1 more dollar… ect ect and they all pay taxes on it. However, if an additional dollar was collected as taxes, and paid to a government worker or contractor the same result could happen. In the end no actual money is created or destroyed either way. So unless one direction (taxed or not taxed) is more likely to end up in another country, the economic result should be very similar. (With the assumption people actually spend the money they save on taxes).

The economic benefit to taxing the rich less is it makes it less likely companies and corporations will move profits over-seas instead, and the economic benefit to taxing the rich more is that they are less have less wealth to horde and not spend.

I’m very familiar with how complicated it is. This is what I do for a living (running a business, not the hand-waving gypsy hypnosis of economists). If I have an extra $1 to invest in goods, I can probably earn 40% on it over the course of a year. Then I can expect to pay 25% in federal taxes on that 40%. Thus the government has cut their tax revenue by $1 today in exchange for $0.10 a year from now. In the meantime, the company that supplies me those goods for $1 is going to spend $0.38 on ABS pellets (or whatever) from China and $0.05 on packing materials from China and their employee is going to earn $0.08 and spend $0.03 at Walmart on goods from China. And the supplier is bigger and craftier than me, so they’ll account away all their profit and pay no taxes at all.

Also in the meantime, the government is going to spend $1 today, whether they have it or not.

In actual fact, instead of the assumed perfectly efficient system of economists where dollars can neither be created nor destroyed, some part of every dollar spent here leaves the country never to return, inflation is constantly decreasing the value of the dollar, and we are racking up debt and interest on that debt like crazy. The economic perpetual motion machine you describe is not a real thing.


What I don’t understand is why these millionaires don’t simply calculate what their taxes would be without the cuts and then pay that. Win-win! No one is stopping them from paying MORE than what they will owe in taxes. So, why should their desire to not have their taxes cut affect in any way, shape or form the legislative process of cutting taxes? You want to pay more in taxes, Richie Rich, have at it! When the millionaires start doing that, then maybe I’ll listen to what they have to say.

If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.

-Nick Hanauer


In far off lands, no doubt.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.