In Feb. 2010, Karl Rove and operatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce convened a meeting of mostly Wall Street titans to fund a set of Republican groups designed to run attacks on Democrats. Ken Langone, a wealthy Wall Street investor and controversial former head of the New York Stock Exchange, was one of the very first major donors to the Rove campaign groups, which now include American Action Network, American Action Forum, American Crossroads, and American Crossroads GPS.
Yesterday on the Fox Business Network, Langone was asked by host Lou Dobbs about how to kickstart the economy. Langone repeatedly said high unemployment is the greatest problem, but conceded that corporations are doing better than ever. To get things going, Langone explained, everyone would have to feel “pain.” In a sharp contrast with his friend Karl Rove, Langone said wealthy guys like him “should pay more taxes”:
LANGONE: Well I say this as a devout Republican. I think in these negotiations, I think number one guys like me, I’ve said this before, there’s a caveat. I shouldn’t get Social Security. I should pay more taxes.
Langone says higher taxes on wealthy individuals like himself should go “entirely to paying down the debt.”
As President Obama and Democrats have pushed to include modest tax increases on the wealthy as part of the debt negotiations, as well as a repeal on tax subsidies to big oil companies (deemed a tax hike by some conservatives and those in the media), Rove’s front groups have hit back with nasty attack ads claiming any tax increase would hurt the economy. Perhaps Rove should listen more to his own wealthy donors.