Whitney Tilson, a millionaire hedge fund manager, wants President Obama to raise his taxes. Despite the fact that the Buffett Rule, the proposed minimum tax on the wealthiest Americans, would have made his federal tax bill 40 percent higher, Tilson was one of four millionaires standing with Obama yesterday at an appearance touting the rule.
Tilson also penned an editorial in the Washington Post calling for the Buffett Rule’s passage, saying, “It’s okay to raise my taxes” because “simple math and basic fairness” demand it:
It’s not class warfare to say that people like me — who aren’t suffering at all in these tough economic times, who are in many cases doing the best we’ve ever done and who can easily afford to pay more in taxes with no impact on our lifestyle — should be the first to step up and make a small sacrifice. […]
Think of it this way: Every billion dollars not raised from millionaires is equal to a million average U.S. families each paying an extra $1,000 in taxes. That would be real hardship for a lot of families that, unlike mine, are struggling to make ends meet.
Tilson is a member of Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, a group that has called for higher taxes on the rich and protested Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist’s radical anti-tax pledge. Tilson renewed his attack on Norquist in the Post editorial, calling for a balanced plan to address the nation’s debt that includes both revenue and spending cuts. “Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge is pie-in-the-sky fantasy and dangerous demagoguery,” he wrote.
His argument that families like his “aren’t suffering at all in these tough economic times” is indeed correct. While the middle- and lower-classes have struggled to keep jobs and make ends meet, the wealthiest Americans have not. The top 1 percent of American earners captured 93 percent of income gains in 2010, and even as their incomes skyrocket, their tax rates have reached historic lows.