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Activist millionaires protest outside Jeff Bezos' homes to support tax rises for the rich
'He is the leading beneficiary of the unequal treatment our nation's tax code gives the rich and powerful'
Well-heeled protesters gathered outside Jeff Bezos's New York City pad on Monday in support of raising taxes for the mega-rich.
The rally was organized by an activist group known as the Patriotic Millionaires. The campaigners showed up the swanky Madison Square Park home of the Amazon moneybags – who has a net worth of about $190bn – with posters reading: “Cut the bullsh*t. Tax the rich."
That slogan and others, such as “Tax me if you can," were placed on billboards with the faces of laughing billionaires – notably Bezos, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla's Elon Musk – and driven through Wall Street, past the Federal Reserve Building and the office of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and along 57th Street – nicknamed Billionaires' Row.
In Washington DC, campaigners took the same messaging to the Capitol Building, the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, the Trump Hotel, the home of Senator Mitch McConell (R-KY), and Bezos's abode in the city.
About 30 protesters assembled in front of Bezos’ $16m Big Apple apartment to make their feelings known, CNBC first reported.
“We decided to focus on Bezos because as the richest man in the world, he is the leading beneficiary of the unequal treatment our nation's tax code gives the rich and powerful,” a spokesperson from Patriotic Millionaires told The Register.
Zuckerberg and Musk aren’t off the hook. The group said it may protest outside their homes in the future. “We didn't go to either of their homes today, but we may potentially do more targeted actions at them or other CEOs at some point,” the spokesperson said.
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Patriotic Millionaires decided to launch its billboard tour across both cities on the US East Coast to coincide with Tax Day, the deadline this year for American citizens, and others in the United States, to file their tax returns.
The group was founded by Erica Payne, a public policy advocate, in 2010; it has about 200 members who are all millionaires, and millionaires only – no billionaires – we’re told. Anyone can join the group if their annual income is over $1m and/or if they have $5m or more in assets.
President Biden wants to, among other things, bump the top individual income tax rate back up to 39.6 per cent; the previous administration lowered it to 37 from 39.6 in 2017. This tax bracket affects the top one per cent of the nation.
“We're broadly supportive of Biden's tax proposals, especially the increase to the capital gains tax rate, but we think it could go further, including significantly higher rates on ultra-high incomes – $10 million per year or higher – or a wealth tax,” the Patriotic Millionaires’ spokesperson told us.
“We support virtually any change to the tax code that makes it more progressive and requires millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations to pay their fair share.” ®