This 'patriotic millionaire' wants to pay more taxes, thinks others should too

"Patriotic Millionaires" Chair Morris Pearl told a panel on FOX Business' "Bulls & Bears" that he is in favor of a wealth tax and increasing fairness into the American tax system, but the group pushed back hard on his statements.

"We think being rich is great," Pearl said. "We're capitalists in our organization. We think everyone should be rich and be a millionaire, but we also think that millionaires and billionaires should pay taxes at the same rate that working Americans do."

"I support billionaires having a wealth tax just like middle-class Americans have had a wealth tax for years on their homes which represents almost all of their wealth."

- Morris Pearl, 'Patriotic Millionaires' Chair

The panel ripped into Pearl's statements.

Freedom Works economic consultant and Fox News Contributor Steve Moore called the members in Pearl's organizations "hypocritical millionaires."

"I just finished my taxes today because tomorrow is Oct. 15, and on the bottom of the tax form is 'you can pay more taxes if you want to,'" Moore said. "And virtually none of your members have done that. If they want to pay more taxes, why don't they just do it? Why do they have to have other people pay more taxes for them to pay more taxes themselves?"

The idea to tax America’s rich with a wealth tax, which is designed to target the wealthiest taxpayers but could end up hurting middle-class families. Similar plans are being touted by Democrats seeking the nomination to run for president in 2020.

As opposed to taxes levied on income and payrolls, a wealth tax would target the value of accumulated assets owned by rich Americans – or their net worth.

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren have each put forward proposals for wealth taxes, which they say will only apply to people with $32 million or more ($16 million for individuals) and $50 million, respectively, a relatively small group of taxpayers.

Pearl admitted he doesn't like to pay taxes, but to him, it's a question of fairness.

"I think that we all have to pay our fair share, and we need a system where everyone contributes."

- Morris Pearl, 'Patriotic Millionaires' Chair

"We can't have a system where it's voluntary, that just won't work," Pearl argued.

Moore compared the idea of voluntary taxes to a volunteer military.

"These are patriotic Americans," Moore said. "They voluntarily sign up for the military. If these people really want to be patriotic, why don't they do what they feel is right and pay more taxes?"

Pearl said the point of paying taxes is so that people who can afford to pay more taxes, pay more.

"If we have a system where everyone paid voluntarily, it will simply not work."

- Morris Pearl, 'Patriotic Millionaires' Chair

"We'd have plenty of money to pay for putting somebody's name on the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and we wouldn't have any money to pay for things like sewage treatment centers and schools and poor neighborhoods and things like that," Pearl said.

Pearl insisted the U.S. needs a "fair tax system" that doesn't leave it up to the people to decide how much they should pay.

Capitalist Pig founder and Fox News contributor Jonathan Hoenig voiced his biggest concern, which he said is how these taxes are spent.

"Aren't you almost feeding the beast by giving more money to the government to fritter away for all this redistribution?" Hoenig asked.

"What we're concerned about is the fact that some of the richest people have lower tax rates than regular working Americans, and that's just not fair," Pearl said.

"We think we need money in the hands of working Americans who will spend it, not billionaires who will just make their portfolios that much larger every year."

- Morris Pearl, 'Patriotic Millionaires' Chair

FOX Business' David Asman contended this idea has been tried and has failed in the 15 European nations because "capital moves when you overtax or when capital feels it's being overtaxed when the benefits don't outweigh the amount of money you have to pay into government."

Pearl, who previously served as a managing director at the large investment firm BlackRock, mentioned how many wealthy Americans inherited their money instead of earning it themselves.

"People like Sam Walton, or the Mars family, that built huge fortunes and never paid any taxes because it's all been unrealized capital gains for decades," Pearl said.

But Asman wouldn't let him off that easily, saying when the wealth tax was tried in Europe, the capital moved out of the area and they ended up making less money.

Pearl insisted people aren't going to leave "the most vibrant, the most successful country in the history of the world" because of taxes.


Investment adviser and Fox News contributor Gary Kaltbaum raised the point that paying more money to a government that's $22.5 trillion in debt may not be a wise decision.

FOX Business Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.