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Millionaires asking Congress for 90% top tax rate confronted with pledge to pay more voluntarily

A group of millionaires calling for higher taxes on the rich was challenged on Tuesday to commit to paying the higher tax rates they supported.

Stephen Moore, Heritage Foundation fellow and co-founder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, confronted Patriotic Millionaires, a group of wealthy Americans calling for increased tax rates on the rich, during the group’s Tax Day press conference held in conjunction with several members of Congress. 

“We were hoping that each one of you will sign this pledge, which says that you will pay a 90% tax just as you’re endorsing today because you say it’s your patriotic duty to do so,” Moore said as he approached Morris Pearl, chair of Patriotic Millionaires, at the podium. “And so I’m hoping that each one of you will sign this pledge that says I’m willing to pay a 90% tax.”

“So let me just understand, you want me to do that individually, or you want me to do that as a part of policy?” vice chair of Patriotic Millionaires Stephen Prince asked as Moore handed out petitions for the members to sign. 

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“Yeah, let’s get people — I’ve got pens. Let’s sign these, you know, so we can solve the problem” Moore said. “You all said that you wanted to pay, you said you wanted to pay more taxes – “

Stephen Moore hands out petitions during Patriotic Millionares conference

Stephen Moore, Heritage Foundation Fellow and co-founder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, confronted Patriotic Millionaires, a group of millionaires calling for increased tax rates on the rich, during the group’s Tax Day press conference held in conjunction with several members of Congress.  (Stephen Moore)

Pearl then interjected and said they “want to change the system” as Moore was guided to the side of the conference. Abigail Disney, heiress to the Walt Disney fortune, then chimed in saying they “want to change the law.” 

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“Don’t you think it’s your patriotic duty to pay more taxes?” Moore asks. 

“We’re saying that the voluntary paying of more is not going to answer the question,” Disney responded, calling the idea “disingenuous.” 

Stephen Moore hands out petitions during Patriotic Millionares conference

Stephen Moore, Heritage Foundation Fellow and co-founder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, confronted Patriotic Millionaires, a group of millionaires calling for increased tax rates on the rich, during the group’s Tax Day press conference held in conjunction with several members of Congress.  (Stephen Moore)

Democrats have worked to implement a wealth tax during the Biden administration that would raise the rates paid by corporations and wealthy Americans. 

The Patriotic Millionaires press conference emphasized the economic need for higher taxes on the rich, with Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., calling Tax Day “one of the most segregated, most unequal and one of the most unjust days of the year in America.”

Morris Pearl wears hat and speaks at podium out front of the Capitol building

Morris Pearl, Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires speaks during a press conference outside the US Capitol on April 18, 2023 in Washington, DC.  (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Patriotic Millionaires)

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Disney also called to enact a new tax code that would require “those who’ve benefited the most from America’s economic structure to recycle a significant portion of that benefit back into our society, rather than allowing them to amass fortunes so large that they threaten our democracy.”

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