Millionaire says rich people don't pay enough taxes
Morris Pearl - Patriotic Millionaires Chair and former CEO of Blackrock, Inc. - says American millionaires get a free ride and tax laws need a major overhaul.
JULIE HYMAN: He's Morris Pearl. He is chairman of the Patriotic Millionaires, an organization that campaigns for higher taxes for the rich. Morris, thank you for joining us.
In particular, I want to ask you about the perception that people are willing to pay more taxes or that they are willing to see taxes go up for the rich depending on what the money is used for, because there are Perception that the government is not very good at spending our money. Do you think this piece needs to be more in focus before we start collecting taxes?
MORRIS PEARL: Well, I think no one was concerned about what the government was spending money on when the deficit doubled in late 2017 with the tax law of the time. I think the focus is really on this gross inequality, on the fact that so many of our fellow Americans pay lower tax rates. Those of us who are investors pay so much lower tax rates than the people who actually have to work for a living. And that's what people say so unfairly - that the richest of us pay so much lower tax rates than everyone else, and we have to change that.
ADAM SHAPIRO: There's that old phrase when you drive that anyone who drives faster than you is a nut. Anyone who drives slower than you is an idiot. So how do you come to consensus with taxes with this kind of analogy, because everyone seems to be in different places on this issue?
MORRIS PEARL: Well I think everyone's in that place where they think it's ridiculous that billionaire real estate developers and people like me who make all my money on investment income have lower tax rates than people like you who do theirs Have to work for a living. And I think people understand that this is unfair. And even if they think the tax rate should be the same for everyone, I don't think anyone really believes that very wealthy people should have lower tax rates than normal working Americans.
JULIA LA ROCHE: Morris, it's Julia La Roche. And our previous guest, Amir, just said how 2/3 of Americans are in favor of a higher tax rate for the rich, but he pointed out that some people don't really know how to classify who is rich. If we could step back under your point of view or scenario, how would you classify the rich? And what would the appropriate tax rate be? Just love to hear how you unwrap it.
MORRIS PEARL: Well, when we talk about wealthy people, we mean millionaires, people who make millions of dollars a year. Joe Biden talks about people who make over $ 400,000 a year, which is really a small fraction of all Americans. And I think we need to understand that when America was great, before it had to be done great again, people were paying tax rates of 70, 80, 90 percent. Even those who complain about taxes the most are companies that have started businesses that pay tax rates above 70%.
And I think we have to understand that we all have to make a contribution to our society because taxes are the price of life in a civilized society. We see a breakdown in society. We see people in the streets marching with pitchforks. I actually saw it myself here in New York City. And that doesn't work for the rich either. And people will no longer put up with this system where most people have to pay a lot of taxes, but the few who are rich just get richer and richer and richer. And people understand that this is not fair.
JULIE HYMAN: Um, there is one person in particular who could fall into that category that we should address and that is the President. We heard the news today that the Manhattan District Attorney can enforce a subpoena requesting President Trump's personal tax and corporate tax returns. That was according to a federal appellate body that decided. If you look at the situation with the president, what we know about his taxes from an investigation into the New York Times and other information that comes out, he says he is only taking advantage of the system legally. Is the system the problem here? Do we need enormous loopholes or a restructuring of the tax system?
MORRIS PEARL: Well. He's right. He uses the system. And I think the American people are fed up with rich people taking advantage of the rest of our society. And yes, we have to change the rules. We saw in late 2017 that Republicans were in charge of the House, Senate, and White House. And they changed the rules as if they wanted to be changed. And we've seen the results - a system where rich people pay less and less and everyone else takes all the bills. So, yes, we have to change the system. That's right.
JULIE HYMAN: Morris Pearl, thank you very much. Hope to see each other again in the months to come as we near the election, or next month I should say now. Morris Pearl is Patriotic Millionaires chair. Thank you very much.
MORRIS PEARL: Thank you.
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