On Wednesday, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee hosted a national media call with the Patriotic Millionaires and progressive members of the House to denounce the Republicans’ plan to cut taxes for millionaires and big corporations -- funded by cutting Medicaid, Medicare, and public education.
PCCC co-founder Stephanie Taylor was joined by Patriotic Millionaires chair Morris Pearl, vice-chair Stephen Prince, and Dr. Karen Seal Stewart, and by Reps. Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-7).
To kick off the conversation, we heard from my fellow co-founder Stephanie Taylor about Trump’s failure to follow through on campaign promises, especially those made to working families, and what that means for the PCCC in 2018.
Stephanie Taylor, co-founder, Progressive Change Campaign Committee: “My relatives who voted for Trump love their Medicare. They send their kids to public schools. When they voted in 2016, they were not voting for tax cuts for millionaires and big corporations -- or for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and public education. Trump voters got the opposite of what they were expecting -- a White House and Republican Congress that is hell-bent on feeding the wealth and power of the most wealthy and most powerful. The PCCC will make sure there is political accountability back home in 2018 for Republicans who vote to cut taxes for millionaires and big corporations while cutting priorities like Medicare and public education.”
We then heard from Morris Pearl, the chair of Patriotic Millionaires. We were excited to partner with their organization on this call, as we don’t often hear from the rich about the need for higher taxes -- and that’s one of the sole purposes of this group. Morris was a managing director at BlackRock, one of the largest investment firms in the world and had a long tenure on Wall Street where he invented some of the securitization technology connecting America’s capital markets to consumers in need of credit.
For too long, we’ve heard from the ultra-wealthy, Wall Street, and Republicans about how we should cut taxes so that the wealthy can get wealthier, and that wealth will “trickle down.” But we know that trickle-down economics is a load of BS, and Morris made that point very clear.
Morris Pearl, chair, Patriotic Millionaires: “I think it’s clear to everyone that trickle down does not work. Money doesn’t trickle down, money trickles up. Decreasing taxes does nothing to increase the money going to other people. When the rich see their taxes go down, they see their wealth go up. That does not do anything to help the wealth or the people whose taxes are not being decreased at all. So there’s no reason at all why this tax cut is going to do anything for anybody except for the very rich.”
We also heard from Morris’s colleagues Karen Seal Stewart, a former real estate broker and insurance agent, and Stephen Prince, Vice-Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires and a businessman who founded National Business Products.
Karen Seal Stewart, PhD, Patriotic Millionaires: “Donald Trump lies when he says that this will not benefit him personally. This, to me, is nothing more than welfare for the wealthy, and we do not need it. We do not need a tax cut.”
Stephen Prince, vice-chair, Patriotic Millionaires: “It’s a fallacy, it’s a self-serving argument that those of us that are wealthy want to try to get the working guys of America to believe: that we’re going to have this tax cut, you’re going to have a lot more money in your pocket, and you’re going to be able to go out and spend more money. And it’s just not true.”
With Trump and the Republicans attempting to move these massive tax cuts for billionaires and big corporations through Congress, it was key to hear from leaders in the House who are leading the fight against this corporate giveaway. Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, two of our close allies in the House, were able to join us for the conversation. While Rep. Lee focused primarily on fallacy of trickle-down economics and its real life impacts, Rep. Jayapal made it clear that all members of Congress need to side with the American people, and prioritize programs that support everyday people like Medicare, Medicare, and Social security.
Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13): “Here’s the fundamental truth: trickle-down economics is a myth. And I’ve seen the failure of trickle-down economics here myself. I look around at the Republican agenda, and they know that women like me wouldn’t have had the same opportunities today with these tax cuts -- without food stamps, without affordable education or childcare -- people, women especially, get trapped in the cycle of poverty. So it’s disgraceful that at a time when so many are struggling just to make ends meet, Republicans’ top priority is to deliver a massive tax break to their donors.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-7): “For decades, I think we’ve seen that Republicans have been prioritizing the interests of corporations and the wealthiest ahead of working families. Ultimately the plan of this budget is to push through these massive tax cuts financed by working families, a huge transfer of wealth -- to run up an enormous deficit and then say, ‘okay we need to cut all of the investments in critical programs,’ like infrastructure, Medicare, and Medicaid. So that’s who’s going to win under this budget resolution, essentially the largest corporations and the wealthiest in our country, and it’s going to leave working families out in the cold.”
In conjunction with our call yesterday, earlier this morning billionaire Nick Hanauer emailed PCCC’s 1 million members urging them to contact Congress in opposition to Republican tax cuts for the rich.
Nick Hanauer: “There is simply no empirical evidence to support the claim that cutting top tax rates spurs economic growth -- except perhaps in the yachting industry, since people like me can double or triple-up on how many we own. The truth is that when more people have more money to spend in their local economy, everyone does better.”
I am proud that the PCCC is in this fight alongside the Patriotic Millionaires, Nick Hanauer, and bold progressives like Reps. Lee and Jayapal in Congress. We need to form this sort of coalition, especially with groups of unlikely partners (like millionaires), if we are to defeat these massive tax cuts for the corporations and people who need them least.
Will you join us in this fight?