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Tue Mar 10, 2015, 10:52 PM

Liberal Millionaires Say 'Tax Me!'

Liberal Millionaires Say 'Tax Me!'

By Jeanne Cummings at Bloomberg View



Within a year, Pearl, 55, had resigned as a managing director of BlackRock Inc. to become chairman of Patriotic Millionaires, a coalition of wealthy American progressives demanding that their taxes be raised.

The group is mounting a two-year campaign, culminating in the 2016 presidential election, to advance three goals: increasing the minimum wage, raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and countering the influence of big (conservative) money in politics. "I think of political and economic inequality as twin cancers," Pearl said. "A tiny number of people are using their money to increase their political power and using their political power to increase their wealth, and it is killing the country."

Recognizing that they are no match for a conservative Republican Congress with very different priorities, Patriotic Millionaires is looking to bulk up. The group recently merged with Wealth for the Common Good, a group of about 5,000 liberals co-founded by Chuck Collins, an heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune.

In the next few months, Pearl said, he hopes at least to double the number of Patriotic Millionaires, which now stands at about 200. The recruitment drive got a jump-start after Pearl appeared on a February 26 "Daily Show" segment on income inequality. Most new members, whose ranks include bankers, entrepreneurs, technology executives and actors, are referred by an existing member. Walk-ins are vetted to ensure that they meet the criteria -- annual income of at least $1 million or assets of at least $5 million.


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