Wisconsin Senate candidate Eric Hovde (R) has been a staunch opponent of the Buffett Rule, the minimum tax on millionaires co-sponsored by likely Democratic Senate nominee Rep. Tammy Baldwin, since beginning his campaign. Sticking with Republican talking points, Hovde has called the rule a “political gimmick” that “does nothing to balance the budget.”
But in a 2009 interview on CNBC, Hovde appeared to have a different take on raising taxes on the rich, as Daniel Bice from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
During a March 2009 appearance on CNBC-TV, Hovde – CEO of Washington-based Hovde Capital Advisors and chief investment officer of private-equity firm Hovde Acquisition LLC – offered a widespread critique of President Barack Obama and congressional spending.
“And then you look over on the tax side,” the millionaire money man said (beginning at the 7:25 mark). “Look, I have no problem with me getting charged higher taxes. I’ve been blessed in my life. And I’ve been very fortunate.”
Watch it (at 7:25):
Hovde’s remark sure sounds like an implicit endorsement of raising taxes on the rich — which the Buffett Rule would do — but at an appearance this week, he assured local media that it was not. Instead, it was a call to end another egregious tax loophole that largely benefits the wealthy. “I’m almost certain that discussion was in regards to, you know, I would be willing to pay more in taxes from the standpoint [of] ‘get rid of the carried interest,'” Hovde told the Journal Sentinel.
Republicans by-and-large oppose closing the carried-interest loophole, which allows wealthy money managers to lower their tax rates, even though it would raise more than $4 billion a year from just the wealthiest 25 hedge fund managers in America. Hovde might be onto something, though — even if Republicans in Congress support the carried-interest loophole, a vast majority of Americans think it should be closed.