The Millionaires Who Want Higher Taxes

This is why the Patriotic Millionaires believe the tax system unfairly works in their favor — and why they want to change it.

Calling for an economic transformation

Morris Pearl and 200 other wealthy individuals are self-described “traitors to their class.” He's the chairperson of the Patriotic MillionairesAmericans with incomes over $1 million who are leading the charge to raise taxes on the rich. He used to work at one of the world's largest investments firms. Several Democratic presidential candidates want to increase taxes on the rich.

Distribution of wealth

“I think we need a different kind of taxes. I think we need a kind of taxes that directly address inequality. And I think we need to have rich people paying more taxes than regular working Americans. We are deeply concerned that there's a growing inequality in our country and that our children and grandchildren are not gonna be able to grow up in the kind of country where we did. Basically, one of the problems with the American tax system is that wealthy people who earn their money from investments pay much lower tax rates than everyday working people who actually have to work for a living. It's just not fair. Someone like me, I'm reasonably wealthy, so I don't have to work anymore. I get all of the money I need to live on for my investments. My average tax rate is below 20 percent. People that work for a living, they pay tax rates that are much higher than I pay,” Morris Pearl tells Brut.

Inequality endemic

Income and wealth distribution were far more equitable in the U.S. a half-century ago during the prime of managerial capitalism—the quasi-stakeholder capitalism of its time—than today. Still, even then, inequality was endemic. Racial and gender inequality were worse, as was discrimination based on sexual orientation. Even class inequality, though less severe, was hardly absent, as was widely noted at the time.