Billionaire Exec: Give The Rich More Votes
Billionaire venture capitalist Tom Perkins has a novel idea to fix the electoral system: give the rich more votes.
Speaking at a panel in San Francisco, Perkins introduced what he calls the “Tom Perkins System.” “The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes,” he said. “But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”
Perhaps Perkins failed to realize that the rich already have more votes in the form of election contributions. The dirty little secret in campaign fundraising is that individual small donor donations only amount to a little more than 10 percent of all campaign financing. A whopping 48 percent of contributions come in the form of large donations from individuals like Tom Perkins and another 23 percent come from Political Action Committees, which also raise most of their money from wealthy contributors and bundlers.
Perkins, of course, is trying to rectify what he believes to be a “war on the rich.” Earlier this month, Perkins drew fire for a Wall Street Journal editorial in which he compared the hate directed towards the top 1 percent of earners to the hate that the Jews faced during the Holocaust. Apparently asking Perkins to pay what the average working American pays in taxes is very reminiscent of one of the worst genocides in human history.
“The fear is wealth tax, higher taxes, higher death taxes — just more taxes until there is no more 1%,” Perkins said, “And that that will creep down to the 5% and then the 10%.”
While it’s true that the rich have a significantly higher tax rate than the rest of country, in reality, they rarely pay anything close to that because of low capital gains taxes and many loopholes. Among the top 400 highest earners in the country, the average effective tax rate is under 20 percent. Among those, 116 paid less than 15 percent in taxes. For all millionaires, the effective tax rate is under 25 percent. Perkins is estimated to be worth $8 billion.
(Image courtesy of TechCrunch)