I watched this show yesterday. A great “interchange” from it:
CHUCK COLLINS, CO-FOUNDER, WEALTH FOR THE COMMON GOOD: Yep. I think this is an important issue for a lot of our Wealth For The Common Good members. They feel it’s a small price to pay for a much broader health insurance that will cover those 50 million people that have no health insurance.
VELSHI: A matter of interest, are there a lot of your Common Good members who would be subject to the tax?
COLLINS: Absolutely. We have an online petition. We’re asking people who will pay the tax, who want to reverse the Bush tax cuts of the last 10 years, and to make those investments in health care and energy independence. These are folks who are part of, I think, a silent majority —
VELSHI: Let me just ask you again. Because there is no – hang on a second. There’s no majority of people who would be subject to this tax. It’s a very small portion of people.
COLLINS: That’s right.
VELSHI: Are there members of yours, who would be subject to these types of proposals about taxing people who earn over $250,000 each, or $350,000 as a couple.
VELSHI: Who would say I would be willing to do that?
COLLINS: Yes, so we have hundreds of people who have signed on to this public petition and more are signing on and we’re gathering that right now. What I was saying is the silent majority of people who will pay this tax actually don’t resent it. I mean, this will sound strange. But this is a group — those of us in the top 1 percent, have got a $700 billion tax cut, thanks to George Bush. Many us didn’t ask for it. Many of us were embarrassed to be getting tax cuts while other members of our country were going to war and making enormous sacrifices. This is a time of national sacrifice. We urgently need to address the health care situation.
ROMANS: Right. Dan Mitchell from CATO Institute, you disagree. There are some on the right and libertarians who are saying, like, look, this smacks of redistribution of wealth. This smacks of socialism. Taking from one part of the society to pay — although you could argue the entire tax code does.
VELSHI: Yes, well, the taxes exist.
ROMANS: But what do you think about this, about taxing the rich for health care?
DAN MITCHELL, CATO INSTITUTE: Well, it’s almost beyond parody to listen to someone who inherited a lot of money to say let’s tax the rich. This is pulling up the ladder so that other people can’t become rich. As far as I’m concerned, what we need to focus on is what are the policies that are going to make America more prosperous. And going down this path to a 1970-style tax and spend big government is a recipe to make our economy more like France. If taxing the so-called rich was such successful policy why is America so much richer than France? We definitely do not want to punish success in this country. I want more rich people. I don’t want fewer rich people. And I certainly don’t want people who inherited wealth trying to stop middle class people from climbing the economic ladder.
ROMANS: Chuck, you inherited — how did you inherit your money? He’s talking about your inherited wealth. Just tell us quickly how you inherited your money.
COLLINS: I’m the great grandson of Oscar Mayer. But I should say a lot of our Wealth For The Common Good members are entrepreneurs. There are people like Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, Warren Buffett, others, who are entrepreneurs. They don’t resent capitalism. They love this country. They love the amazing system for wealth creation. We also want to encourage wealth in creation. What we believe is a healthy capitalism has a healthy safety net. And if we make — we have long overdue investments not just in health care, but education, energy independence. If we want to be a competitive country, if we want to have the next generation of millionaires and billionaires come up the ladder, and come from all the walks of society, we need to make these long overdue investments. Where is the money going to come from? Where else is the money going to come from?