One Percenter Calls For 'Enlightened Self Interest' To Avert Real Class Warfare

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    Dec 03, 2011 5:52 PM GMT
    Another rich guy on the side of the angels:

    Arthur DelaneyOne Percenter Calls For 'Enlightened Self Interest' To Avert Real Class Warfare

    Some conservatives complain it's class warfare to harp on income inequality and to say the rich should pay higher taxes. Philadelphia's Dan Berger, an avowed member of the richest 1 percent of Americans, says calling attention to uneven incomes is a step toward averting class warfare.

    "The wealthy in this country have the biggest stake because they own the most wealth and property,"
    said Berger, who made his millions as a trial lawyer pursuing antitrust, environmental, and civil and human rights cases. "Since they have the biggest stake, they have the biggest stake in ensuring harmonious political and social relations and conditions in society."

    Berger, 64, is a major donor to liberal causes and the Democratic party, which he would like to prevail in its effort to reduce the deficit by raising taxes on millionaires such as himself. To that end, he joined a group called "Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength," which is devoted to lobbying for taxes on its own members -- the super rich.

    Incomes for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans grew faster than for any other income group over the past few decades, according to a recent report from economists at the Congressional Budget Office. From 1979 to 2007, the richest 1 percent saw their after-tax income soar by 275 percent. It grew by 65 percent for the next 19 percent, under 40 percent for the next 60 percent, and just 18 percent for the bottom fifth of taxpayers.

    It's against this backdrop Congress is wrestling with how to shrink the federal budget deficit, with Republicans opposed to tax increases and Democrats against spending cuts to social programs. The Obama administration has said allowing the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000 would raise $866 billion over 10 years. Democrats have also pushed proposals to hike rates solely on those earning more than $1 million per year.

    Berger said he sees widening income inequality as a moral wrong, but also something the well-off should worry about for more practical reasons. "In enlightened self interest you would think the wealthy would go along with [reducing economic inequality]," he said. "There are a limited number of countries you can pack up and move to in the event things get totally out of control."

    He said the unrest manifested as Occupy Wall Street protests across the country represents the "tip of the iceberg" in terms of what could happen if people really get angry one day. "I do see a link between the Patriotic Millionaires and Occupy Wall Street," Berger said. "They dramatized the issue. I think just dramatizing the issue is a step forward."
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    Dec 03, 2011 6:07 PM GMT
    Interesting that he invents the phrase "Patriotic Millionaires" which implies non-millionaires and the the OWS movement are unpatriotic.

    Patriotic how? In paying less than other Americans in taxes, for equal, or even disproportionately favorable services? In moving personals assets offshore to avoid taxes? In moving jobs offshore to increase profits, while US citizens become unemployed?

    I know few truly patriotic millionaires. The millionaires I do know are selfish and greedy. They may fund a concert hall, but so that their name is plastered all over it. A concert hall that only their wealthy friends will ever enjoy, while the poor sleep under bridges, and our military fight & die for lost causes that serve nothing but corporate profit.

    Yes, do tell me about real altruistic patriotism among the mega-wealthy, versus their self-interest. I know them, I see them every day. Patriotism is at the very bottom of their priorities, except as its pretense benefits themselves financially.
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    Dec 03, 2011 6:20 PM GMT
    So when is he giving it all away? Does he have a special date reserved on his calendar?
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    Dec 03, 2011 6:26 PM GMT
    Art_Deco saidInteresting that he invents the phrase "Patriotic Millionaires" which implies non-millionaires and the the OWS movement are unpatriotic.

    Patriotic how? In paying less than other Americans in taxes, for equal, or even disproportionately favorable services? In moving personals assets offshore to avoid taxes? In moving jobs offshore to increase profits, while US citizens become unemployed?

    I know few truly patriotic millionaires. The millionaires I do know are selfish and greedy. They may fund a concert hall, but so that their name is plastered all over it. A concert hall that only their wealthy friends will ever enjoy, while the poor sleep under bridges, and our military fight & die for lost causes that serve nothing but corporate profit.

    Yes, do tell me about real altruistic patriotism among the mega-wealthy, versus their self-interest. I know them, I see them every day. Patriotism is at the very bottom of their priorities, except as its pretense benefits themselves financially.


    Art - He's on the same side as OWS.
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    Dec 03, 2011 6:28 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie saidSo when is he giving it all away? Does he have a special date reserved on his calendar?


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  • KissTheSky

    Posts: 1981

    Dec 03, 2011 6:37 PM GMT
    Christian73 saidAnother rich guy on the side of the angels:

    "There are a limited number of countries you can pack up and move to in the event things get totally out of control."


    Wouldn't the 1% actually be worse off when/if they have to flee to another country? Doesn't virtually every "first-world" nation have tax rates equal to or higher than ours? I know most of Europe does.

    Wouldn't it make more sense for the super-rich to cooperate on fixing the inequality of their own nation rather than planning where they will emigrate to when things fall apart here?
  • JP85257

    Posts: 3284

    Dec 03, 2011 6:41 PM GMT
    This dude is more than free in the United States to give his money out as he sees fit. He can even give it to the Gov't if he wants. It IS still a "free" country....Correct?
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    Dec 03, 2011 7:08 PM GMT
    JP85257 saidThis dude is more than free in the United States to give his money out as he sees fit. He can even give it to the Gov't if he wants. It IS still a "free" country....Correct?


    That's not the point and you know it. How about one of you alleged economic conservatives actually deal with that is being said here?

    That the far right conservative economics that have been guiding this country for the past 30 years is actually cannibalizing the very middle class consumers that are putting the money into the pockets of the entrepreneurs and business owners.
  • KissTheSky

    Posts: 1981

    Dec 03, 2011 7:16 PM GMT
    JP85257 saidThis dude is more than free in the United States to give his money out as he sees fit. He can even give it to the Gov't if he wants. It IS still a "free" country....Correct?


    Hoping people volunteer to pay taxes doesn't seem realistic at any income level.
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    Dec 03, 2011 7:24 PM GMT
    KissTheSky said
    JP85257 saidThis dude is more than free in the United States to give his money out as he sees fit. He can even give it to the Gov't if he wants. It IS still a "free" country....Correct?


    Hoping people volunteer to pay taxes doesn't seem realistic at any income level.


    Why do you think the GOP plan to extend payroll tax includes a "voluntary" donation by the rich for giving more taxes?

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/30/news/economy/payroll_tax_cut_republicans/The Republican plan also includes a proposal from Sen. John Thune that invites millionaires and billionaires, such as Warren Buffett, who feel they aren't taxed enough to voluntarily pay more to reduce federal deficits.

    To assist in the effort, a new line on the federal income tax return would be created for such voluntary donations. Republicans say the change would reduce deficits by $124 million over 10 years.


    In their dreams.icon_lol.gif
  • JP85257

    Posts: 3284

    Dec 03, 2011 10:48 PM GMT
    Christian73 said
    JP85257 saidThis dude is more than free in the United States to give his money out as he sees fit. He can even give it to the Gov't if he wants. It IS still a "free" country....Correct?


    That's not the point and you know it. How about one of you alleged economic conservatives actually deal with that is being said here?

    That the far right conservative economics that have been guiding this country for the past 30 years is actually cannibalizing the very middle class consumers that are putting the money into the pockets of the entrepreneurs and business owners.


    If he/they feel THAT guilty about being successful they can write a check.
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    Dec 03, 2011 10:53 PM GMT
    JP85257 said
    Christian73 said
    JP85257 saidThis dude is more than free in the United States to give his money out as he sees fit. He can even give it to the Gov't if he wants. It IS still a "free" country....Correct?


    That's not the point and you know it. How about one of you alleged economic conservatives actually deal with that is being said here?

    That the far right conservative economics that have been guiding this country for the past 30 years is actually cannibalizing the very middle class consumers that are putting the money into the pockets of the entrepreneurs and business owners.


    If he/they feel THAT guilty about being successful they can write a check.


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