Tea party Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) used himself as an example Monday while arguing against President Barack Obama's plan to make sure millionaires pay about the same tax rate as the people that work for them.
"In my own case, I own LLCs," Fleming told MSNBC's Chris Jansing. "The income flows to my personal tax return and whatever is left over after taxes are paid, I feed my family on the one hand and on the other hand, I reinvest in my business."
"With all due respect, The Wall Street Journal estimated that your businesses, which I believe are Subway sandwich shops and UPS stores -- very successful -- brought you last year, over $6 million," Jansing noted.
"Yeah, that's before you pay 500 employees, you pay rent, you pay equipment and food," Fleming agreed. "Since my net income -- and again, that's the individual rate that I told you about -- the amount that I have to reinvest in my business and feed my family is more like $600,000 of that $6.3 million. And so by the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over to invest in new locations, upgrade my locations, buy more equipment."
"You do understand, Congressman, the average person out there making 40, 50, $60,000 a year, when they hear that you have $400,000 left over, it's not exactly a sympathetic position?" Jansing asked.
"Again, class warfares never created a job," Fleming replied. "That's people that will not get jobs. This is all about creating jobs. It's not about attacking people who make certain incomes. You know, in this country, most people feel that being successful in their businesses is a virtue, not a vice. And once we begin to identify it as a vice, this country is going down."
It wasn't clear if the numbers cited by Fleming included his $174,000 congressional salary.