More Than 400 Millionaires And Billionaires Have An Unusual Request For Congress

"We write with a simple request: Do not cut our taxes."

According to most experts, the GOP tax bills circulating in both the House and the Senate cut taxes for the country's richest families while simultaneously increasing income inequality and potentially cutting safety net programs that assist low income Americans. To that end, over 400 millionaires and billionaires have signed a letter urging Congress to raise their taxes instead of reducing them.

According to The Washington Post, the letter will be released publicly this week. Signatories include doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and chief executives, such as Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, fashion designer Eileen Fisher, billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros, and philanthropist Steven Rockefeller.

"We are high net worth individuals, many in the top 1 percent, who care deeply about our nation and its people, and we write with a simple request: Do not cut our taxes," the letter states, according to HuffPost.


In the missive, which was orchestrated by a group that advocates progressive causes called Responsible Wealth, these wealthy Americans also ask that Congress not pass any tax bill that "further exacerbates inequality," which would add to our growing national debt. As noted by HuffPost, however, the Congressional Budget Office determined the House Republican tax reform plan would add $1.7 trillion to the U.S. national debt over the next decade.

In addition to benefiting individuals and couples with a high net worth, the proposed House and Senate bills also give massive tax cuts to some of the nation's biggest corporations, which the current administration believes will stimulate growth and increase jobs in the country. 

However, many who signed the letter have a different view. "I have a big income. If my income gets bigger, I'm not going to invest more. I'll just save more," Bob Crandall, a former American Airlines chief executive, told the Washington Post.

The letter also takes aim at the GOP's desire to either eliminate or change the estate tax so it's more beneficial to wealthy Americans. NBC News reports the House bill would repeal the estate tax entirely, meaning assets worth more than $5.49 million ($11 million for couples) that are left to heirs won't be taxed at all. The Senate bill, on the other hand, proposes doubling the threshold for inheritances, meaning individuals could inherit up to $11 million ($22 million for couples) tax free.

"Repealing the estate tax alone would lose an estimated $269 billion over ten years — more than we would spend on the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, and Environmental Protection Agency combined," the letter said.

Instead of taking money from those entities (and others) those who signed this letter have made it clear they wish to be taxed more, not less, so that money can be used to better education, research, infrastructure etc. as well as to help safeguard programs such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

CNN reports the House may vote on a tax bill as early as this week, while the Senate bill is still undergoing some crucial changes before it will be brought to the floor, though it is expected to be put to a vote shortly after Thanksgiving. The outlet also notes Congress is on schedule to deliver a tax plan to the president's desk by Christmas, but things may change.


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