Last year, Sen. Orrin Hatch proposed drug testing as a condition of unemployment benefits - and gave one of his typically strident lectures on the deficit. Yet he turns down millionaires who want to pay more taxes!
So the Patriotic Millionaires, a group that includes several dozen people in the highest tax bracket, first tried unsuccessfully to convince elected officials to let the Bush tax cuts expire. No dice.
Then, right before Obama was to announce his budget proposal, they took a different approach. Via Justin Elliott in Salon:
"For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you increase taxes on incomes over $1,000,000," the group writes in a new letter to Obama, Harry Reid, and John Boehner. "We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned incomes of $1,000,000 per year or more."
Last year, Obama signed a bill to extend the Bush tax cuts after originally proposing that the two highest tax rates return to 36% and 39.6%, up from the Bush tax cut levels of 33% and 35%.
One of the signatories of the new letter, film and television producer Linda Gottlieb, explained her participation to me this morning: "For me to be sitting and hoarding my money is insane," said Gottlieb, whose producer credits include "Dirty Dancing" and who now teaches at NYU's Tisch school. "We all give to charity, but that's not the same as creating a more equitable society."
Gottlieb said she has been upset by the experience of her grandchildren, who attend a New York City public school where arts education has been cut and parents have had to organize an auction to try to fill the gaps. She added that raising taxes on the wealthiest people would be an important way of reducing the deficit.
"For rich people to moan and groan -- nobody likes to pay increased taxes -- but it's not going to change your life in any important way," she said. "What it can do is help your country."
Now, I'm sure you're familiar with what a truly awful weasel Orrin Hatch is. (Remember when he wanted people on unemployment to be drug tested?) How do you suppose the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee responded? By mocking them!
"We hear this quite a bit from rich Democrats. 'Please tax us more,' they say. Well I know a lot who don't say that, I'll tell you that.